Susan Cassidy loves getting out in the mild weather.
A new trail in her community of Hanwell, just outside of Fredericton, is making it easier for her and others with a mobility disability to enjoy a walk in nature.
Ms. Cassidy, a former mayor of Hanwell, has a spinal condition and uses a walker to provide stability and make walking easier.
A newly opened section of the roughly five-kilometre trail in Hanwell has been surfaced with a special rubber compound that is both easy to move on and remarkably safe if someone takes a spill.
“It makes it easy not just for people like myself with mobility issues but also for people with children in strollers and carriages,” she says of the new trail section, which is roughly two-thirds of a kilometre.
“I think many people see it as an advantage to have a fully accessible, outdoor walking area. I think it’s wonderful.”
Ms. Cassidy also enjoys the Trekfit Benchfit exercise circuit that have been strategically placed in the area. She says the benches can be used for resting but they are part of an exercise circuit that provides instruction panels for various levels of individual exercise.
The trail section, which opened in September, was made possible by a $300,000 grant from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).
Ability New Brunswick conducted a free accessibility review of the trail plan before it was built, a service it offers through its Para New Brunswick program for sport and recreation facilities, parks, playgrounds, trails, beaches, schools, churches, and more to promote a truly inclusive environment for persons with a mobility disability.
It is part of the community’s plan to make local buildings and recreational areas accessible to all.
Terri Parker, the clerk-treasurer of Hanwell, says community officials are hoping the Hanwell facilities will receive a gold designation from the Rick Hansen Foundation.
“We have a great opportunity while we are building to make sure we are completely accessible,” Ms. Parker says. “It’s so much easier to do it from the beginning than trying to do it later.”