Monday, September 02, 2013

New Ramp at Cadboro-Gyro Park!

Great news from Cadboro-Gyro Park! The Saanich municipal work crew has installed a new wheelchair ramp down from the promenade to the beach. You can read about the new ramp here at the Saanich website. There are several wide sets of concrete stairs down from the raised promenade of pounded gravel, and the crew has poured a concrete ramp over one set of stairs. There's an article about the wheelchair ramp on the Victoria News website.

John took these photos showing the mesh part of the ramp!
At the low end of the ramp, the crew has also installed a wide strip of mesh across the dry sand, down to the waterline at high tide. The mesh is quite firm, and it's easy to see sand falling through or being brushed off, leaving a good surface for wheelchairs.

But it's not just a ramp for wheelchairs -- this ramp will be useful for families with strollers, and for people who find even a small stair to be a problem. It's possible to walk off the lower end of the mesh onto firm, damp sand. This ramp will improve waterside access for anyone who can handle a little salt & sand but finds loose sand and beach logs to be an unsteady barrier underfoot.

And as an added bonus for boat users, this new wheelchair ramp will make an excellent launch ramp! I'm not the only kayaker who has trouble reaching the beach by walking over the promenade and beach logs. With a kayak on my shoulder, I'm unsteady on my feet when a breeze comes up. Even if there are two of us carrying a kayak, I've stumbled when a driftwood log shift under my feet. When I'm launching at Cadboro Bay's Gyro Park, I walk to the boat launch at the end of the promenade. That boat ramp has a little pounded gravel at the top, so the hardest part of the launch is staggering through the soft, dry sand down to the waterline.

I've already used the new wheelchair ramp a couple of times while kayaking, and it's a real treat to come back from the water's edge without kicking my sandals full of dry sand that sticks all over my wet feet. The high water mark will move higher on the shore when winter comes, and there will be storms too. We'll just have to see how well the ramp lasts when driftwood logs roll across it in a storm. Apparently the mesh is supposed to be removed during the winter, and replaced in the spring.

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