Group helping to remove ‘one barrier at a time’

StopGap Sarnia-Lambton is initiative designed to help businesses 'do more business'

Mike Mazak, left, and Tony D'Orazio both work at Dixin Construction, which is involved in putting together the single step ramps for area businesses.

The reality is that it doesn’t always take a lot of effort to remove a barrier to business.

Specifically, Natalie Normand, project coordinator for the Breaking Barriers to Business initiative, is part of a group that’s working to do just that for Sarnia-Lambton.

These colourful but effective (and useful) reminders can help a business grow while removing a barrier at the same time.
These colourful but effective (and useful) reminders can help a business grow while removing a barrier at the same time.

The specific community project is called StopGap Sarnia-Lambton, which is working to construct and deliver free ramps to local businesses, thus eliminating overcoming the “single step” barrier that keeps people who may have a mobility challenge from enjoying all that premise may offer.

On Friday, the group was at Dixin Construction, where workers were putting together custom ramps that can be delivered to various locations in the community.

Normand explained how the project got started:

Dan Edwards is one individual who sees great value in the StopGap initiative.

About nine years ago, when he was still in high school at St. Christopher’s in Sarnia, he had an accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down.

Dan Edwards, who was paralyzed in an accident about nine years ago, is doing what he can to encourage the removal of the "single step" to businesses in Sarnia-Lambton.
Dan Edwards, who was paralyzed in an accident about nine years ago, is doing what he can to encourage the removal of the “single step” to businesses in Sarnia-Lambton.

Today, Edwards gives motivational talks, often to schools and other groups.

Normand connected with Edwards about two months ago and asked if he would be interested in supporting the efforts of StopGap.

“Because I’m in a wheelchair, accessibility is huge for me,” he said. “Not being able to go to some businesses or go out with my friends is quite a barrier to me and this initiative will, I’m sure, make a difference for people like me.”

Details on the program, including ways for people to get involved, are available at www.stopgapsarnialambton.ca.

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