“No problems – Only solutions,” is the motto that Gananoque Lions Club president, Susan Tunnicliffe, and her husband, Dr. Brian Tunnicliffe, have lived by for the past four years.
Susan Tunnicliffe stated, “Brian and I started work on the project in 2014. The most exciting part was first, after 4 hours presenting our idea, we were able to raise $17,000 and then securing a grant from the Ontario Enabling Accessibilities Fund for $36,265.00.
Second, the installation of the ramp and third, the Grand Opening on June 16.
The concept is simple – find a way to allow those with disabilities to not only sit by the side of the mighty St. Lawrence River – but go into the water safely. “With our research, the only water access was at the Sirens Resort Lutraki, Greece. There are many beach accesses, but no one seems to have a ramp that assists those with disabilities into the water.”
Once the Town of Gananoque approved the design by Russell Steacy of R.J.S. Consulting Services Limited, Mike Tennant of Tennant's Welding fabricated the series of ramps approximately 48 inches wide with a firm surface, wider landing area, and a continuously-graspable handrailing. There are two water wheelchairs available, free of charge and ready for pickup at the Gananoque Marina office.
On the day of the opening, there was much excitement as three volunteers, Brett Gibson, Shannon Buell and Brian Patterson, offered to go in for a swim, but the water temperature was just past 15C and far too cold. However, now the River has warmed-up, the ramp is being used and is a delight for all.
The list of those acknowledged at the opening ceremony is long – but suffice to say every one of those that made this happen have a great deal to be proud of. Two important guests included Andrea Andrecyk, ambassador from the Rick Hanson Foundation, and Vicki Keith, world-class marathon Swimmer, Founder/Coordinator of the Y Penguins and the Abilities Program.
The Tunnicliffes told us “Here is some interesting information - The Lions Club has already received congratulations from 100’s of people from here and all over the world, including, South Africa, Hawaii, Kentucky, Bangladesh, Ghana, Nigeria, and Mexico, to name a few!”
This editor is both professionally and personally proud to thank the Lion’s Club of Gananoque for making this happen. Their motto, "No problems, only solutions", is most appropriate for those with accessibility problems. This is a perfect solution and we thank you.
By Susan W. Smith, Editor, info@Thousandislandslife.com