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Sandon Museum gets new wheelchair-accessible entranceway

The Sandon Museum is now wheelchair accessible, with an attractive new wooden boardwalk and a new set of wooden stairs gracing the entranceway. The completion of the boardwalk project was celebrated with a grand opening on May 20, 2016 with a ribbon cutting, cake, and refreshments. Karen Hamling, chair of the Regional District of Central Kootenay, cut the ribbon after congratulating the society on the beautiful structure. Dan Nicholson, president of the Sandon Historical Society, welcomed everyone and thanked all those involved with the project. In an interview, Nicholson explained that the boardwalk has historical value as well as the practical value of wheelchair accessibility. “At one time, there was a boardwalk that extended in front of all the buildings on the main street of Sandon,” said Nicholson. “The new boardwalk gives the feel of what it would have been like back then.” He says wheelchair accessibility to the museum has been important to him ever since he worked there about 20 years ago and helped carry a visitor in a wheelchair up the stairs and into the museum. His good friend Rob Riley, who wrote most of the write-ups for the museum displays and worked as museum attendant for several seasons before he passed away in 2010, was disabled and also wanted to see accessibility. Nicholson credited the boardwalk idea to former society president, Wanda Palmer. When she brought the idea forward, the board got behind it and Nicholson volunteered to write the grant application to the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance (CKCA). The CKCA approved the grant in 2012, and had to extend the deadline for project completion three times. “Many thanks to the CKCA for their patience while we worked through the building permit process,” said Nicholson. “Ulli Mueller of Nakusp was hired to do the design, and she was invaluable. She was able to come up with a beautiful design that satisfied the building inspector.” Jim Pownall and crew of New Denver constructed the boardwalk. “As you can see, they did a fabulous job,” commented Nicholson. On the day of the grand opening, a bus full of residents from Kaslo’s extended care facility arrived. They were very pleased with the new boardwalk, Sandon Museum gets new wheelchair-accessible entranceway which made their visit possible. The total project cost was $25,000, with the CKCA granting $15,000 and the society contributing $10,000. Nicholson says the society’s next project will be to finish off the back of the museum with another wooden structure that will provide an improved fire exit. The fire exit will also be wheelchair accessible.

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