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- Accessibility Ramps Debut on Haliburton’s Main Street, as New ‘StopGap’ Program Rolls Out -

(HALIBURTON COUNTY) – Two local businesses are ramping up efforts to boost accessibility to their premises, laying the groundwork for other organizations to participate in a unique ‘stop gap’ measure.

Subway and TravelPlus, both located on the main street of Haliburton Village, became the first two businesses in Haliburton County to take part in the StopGap (www.stopgap.ca) community ramp program. The brightly-coloured, portable and lightweight StopGap ramps can be put out at the front entrance of a building, allowing people in wheelchairs or those with strollers or mobility aids to more easily enter and exit the business.
The StopGap ramps are designed for businesses that have a front step that is five inches or less in height. A business owner can either leave the StopGap ramp out for the day, or make it available to customers upon request. A door bell and signage will also be issued to each location.


“The StopGap ramp project is good for business, and Subway and TravelPlus are to be commended for seeing its merits. StopGap is an inexpensive, customer-friendly solution to boost access to your business and gain new customers,” says Bob Penfold, an active member of the Aging Well Haliburton County Committee. “Improved accessibility benefits everyone… both young and old. In a place like Haliburton County with an aging population, this fact is even more important.”


The Aging Well Committee is a group of senior volunteers who have worked in recent years to create an age-friendly community where people can enjoy good health, age well, live in a secure environment, and fully participate in society. The Aging Well Committee has worked on a number of projects to improve access in Haliburton County, the most recent one being the StopGap community ramp program.
“When we looked further into the StopGap ramp program, we saw how successful it has been in other Ontario communities,” says Angela Andrews, chairperson of the Aging Well Committee. “We thought a similar program here would be an ideal fit for Haliburton County, especially in our downtown areas where sidewalk space is limited and permanent ramps are prohibited.”


Locally, the StopGap program has truly been a community effort, she adds. Materials to build the ramps were purchased locally. Last spring, students at Haliburton Highlands Secondary School (Haliburton Environmental Specialist High Skills Major Program) built the ramps, and local seniors from the Aging Well Committee helped to paint them.


With the StopGap program now officially launched in the area, Aging Well Committee members are hopeful that other businesses and organizations will follow the lead of Subway and TravelPlus and sign up for ramps. Further promotion efforts are being planned in the coming months to build awareness and buy-in to the StopGap program. To find out more information about StopGap, call the Health Unit at (705) 457-1391, ext. 3239, or visit www.stopgap.ca.

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For media inquiries, contact:
Angela Andrews, Health Promoter, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, (705) 457-1391.

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