Matt Weingarden, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Tilbury Times Reporter October 16, 2023
There is a new accessible swing available for children and adults to use in Tilbury’s Memorial Park.
One of few in Ontario, it is a welcomed addition to Chatham -Kent.
The Tilbury Rotary Club’s newest project to include those with accessibility challenges in local parks was officially opened in a ceremony that welcomed several special guests to the community.
“As part of our original project started a number of years ago, we helped to get a community splash pad built at the arena, however it wasn’t accessible to those in need,” said Kathy Cottingham, Tilbury Rotary Club co-president. “So, this time around it was suggested that we make it accessible.”
She says a couple years ago they added several accessible features including picnic tables and a waterproof wheelchair.
The newest addition to the ongoing accessibility focus is the accessible swing at a cost of around $24,000.
“We went to the community and did a needs assessment, we did a lot of research on the types of swings that were available and found a stand-alone swing that would allow kids and adults to wheel their chair right onto the equipment, without anyone having to be physically moved.” said Cottingham.
She shares the organization is grateful for the donations from the Jubenville Foundation and the Robert Dillon Foundation in helping with the cost of the new swing.
Among those who attended the opening of the accessible wheelchair swing were
Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff, who congratulated the group for this unique wheelchair swing that can accommodate all ages.
Mayor Canniff encouraged the Club to continue to seek existing grants for projects that improve accessibility.
The celebration included members of council, Accessibility Advisory Committee member
Alysson Storey,Representatives of the Chatham-Kent Community and South Kent Wind Foundations, and C-K municipality administration.
Also in attendance, Erin Chevalier and very special guest, son River, frequent users of the accessible equipment – who provide us with feedback and photos of River’s smiles.
“Seeing the joy on his face that’s what it’s all about to me,” added Cottingham.