The following is the (lightly edited) text of our email to our property manager, to go to the Board, asking for an improvement to the accessibility of our apartment-style condominium. Your comments are welcome.
During the weekend, someone put a handwritten sign on the garbage room door, asking that it be left open for someone with mobility issues. Since this is a fire door, you can’t do that, but it spurred some thoughts that my wife and I have had for some time.
We encourage the corporation to install more power operated (and some swipe card controlled) door openers to improve mobility, accessibility and marketability.
- The population is ageing; more people are living longer, posing mobility issues, including building accessibility.
- The health care system discharges patients from care earlier for continuing care as out-patients. Many require wheelchairs, walkers or canes, albeit for short terms, thus increasing the requirement for improved accessibility.
- The condominium population includes people like us who prefer ‘ageing in place’ rather than moving to a home for the elderly, where proximity to others can lead to severe disease spreading and a serious loss of privacy and independence.
- Our condo’s outer doors are still manual, even when some of the inner doors are swipe card controlled and power operated by a suitably placed button. Leaving the buildings can require a strong push. Entering can be a challenge even for able people if they are carrying packages or managing children.
- More deliveries are being made as people shop on-line for safety from Covid-19. This new habit will probably continue after the crisis is over. A ‘disabled’ door opener helps deliveries as the door stays open during entry with a handcart.
- Tapping a ‘disabled’ door button with an elbow reduces the need for touching door handles, thus reducing disease spread.
- The corporation should consider power operators for the doors to the garbage rooms and garages for convenience and improved mobility. Since many of these are fire exits, they could not be swipe-card controlled.
- New buildings built to current accessibility codes are competition in the condominium marketplace. If the corporation wishes to remain in the market, upgrades like these are market necessities, not luxuries.