Disabled access to garden improved

A portion of the David Lam Asian Garden in UBC's Botanical Garden is now accessible to wheelchair users thanks to recent trail improvements made possible by funding from the Coca-Cola Disability Access Fund, the Dorothy Lam Memorial Fund and the volunteer group, Friends of the Garden.

Some steep slopes on the first loop of the trail system have been removed and the bark mulch surface has been replaced with a hard surface which retains the natural beauty of the garden, says garden director Bruce Macdonald.

"The primary goal is wheelchair accessibility," says Macdonald. "But there are also new trails which provide access to areas which were previously inaccessible by any means."

The proposed next phase would extend the paved trail from the east end of the tunnel beneath Southeast Marine Drive to the garden pavilion and the entrance to the Food and Physic gardens. Consideration will also be given to improving accessibility for persons with visual, auditory and other disabilities. A third phase will see the remaining major areas of the garden made wheelchair accessible.

Coca-Cola Disability Access Fund money has also been committed to renovating the Frederic Wood Theatre to provide access to seating and washroom facilities for patrons in wheelchairs.

Construction is slated to start soon on major exterior ramps in two other locations on campus. One is to be built at the Student Union Building with additional funding from the Alma Mater Society.

Campus Planning and Development has also completed a review of accessibility to the Museum of Anthropology and a feasibility study of a communication accessible classroom for hearing impaired students.

The improvements are all part of Strategy 2010, a campus-wide plan to create full access for people with disabilities, spearheaded by the Rick Hansen Institute and the Disability Resource Centre.