Disabled visitors come home from a rude awakening: “A simple ramp could have prevented a lot” (Ghent)

What should have been one of the most beautiful days of the year has quickly become a day to forget for residents of the non-profit organization De Karrekol. The traditional Half-Vantenfoor has about eighty attractions, but only a handful are easily accessible for those who have difficulty walking or are unable to walk. “A simple ramp can prevent many problems,” says Jonas Dirkins, director of the Foundation for Mentally and Physically Disabled People.

However, the city of Ghent has a lot to say about accessibility. Accredited local councilor Astrid de Bruecker (Vorwit) presented an action plan for integrated access to the city council on Wednesday evening.

This is essential: the new ATM on the Veldstraat is not wheelchair accessible, not one in five bus or tram stops in Ghent is accessible for the visually impaired, and Ghent City Hall is only accessible for wheelchair users via a passage in the side , and the elevator at the new municipal office in the south is already cramped for certain types of wheelchairs. Just to give some examples.

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Low stimulus day

Guido Herrmann, theme park owner and spokesperson for the fairground vendors, acknowledges the problem, but points out the moderators. “If they give an indication of the attraction, they will always make sure that anyone in a wheelchair can access the attraction, with or without staff assistance. And on March 30th we organize a low stimulus day, especially for the disabled. The installation of the ramp is in terms of Structural is expensive because we have to pay per square metre.”

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Alderman of Markets and Foren Sofie Bracke (Open VLD) have announced that an Access Officer will be called in for a tour. He must identify the pain points and examine what interventions vendors can take so that more Ghent residents can enjoy the fair.

“It’s important to know that space in the field is limited and most attractions are high off the ground because they have motors and wheels underneath,” says Bracke. “The fair moves from one city to another. So we have to tackle this problem above the local.”

Fried donut balls

Thanks to De Karrekol’s steering staff, Wednesday was a nice day for residents of the nonprofit. “They made the best of it with Olebollen and a visit to Lunapark,” says director Derkins. “I hope that next year the exhibition will be more accessible to our residents, but also to those who have broken legs, for example.”

Denton Watson

"Friend of animals everywhere. Evil twitter fan. Pop culture evangelist. Introvert."

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