New barrier-free playground makes sport fishing more accessible in Cape Breton community

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PORT MORIEN, NS – Sport fishing can be extremely difficult for anyone with accessibility issues, but a community in Cape Breton has just captured a piece of equipment that levels the playing field for everyone.

More and more people in the Maritimes have started fishing during the pandemic, but some say the sport is not accessible to everyone.

This is why the Port Morien Wildlife Association has a new project, the construction of a barrier-free fishing area that will facilitate access for people with reduced mobility to cast a line.

“I can’t wait to check this out and try it out,” says Nicole MacNeil, whose son Devon lives with cerebral palsy. “I can’t wait to see Devon’s expression.”

It took years, but soon the dams will be lifted and the barrier-free fishing site will be open to the public.

“You are looking at a concrete platform with five fishing posts with specially designed handrails for a person with a disability, so that they can fish without having a guardrail at eye level,” says Jeff McNeil, president of the Port Morien Wildlife Association.

“We have aids that cost over $ 3,000 to help people with challenges,” says Stan Peach, treasurer of the Port Morien Wildlife Association.

There is also an asphalt ramp that leads to the platform and a soon-to-be-accessible picnic table, which will be set up for visitors to enjoy.

The project, which cost more than $ 140,000, was partly government funded, but much of the money came from community donations.

“The small businesses that joined us and the people that joined us, we asked people to donate money for deceased loved ones, and that was a first for us,” says Peach.

For MacNeil and his son, this is a step in the right direction when it comes to breaking down barriers for people with disabilities.

“People with disabilities have a harder time going out for adventures, so having something that is accessible to everyone is great,” says MacNeil.

The grand opening was originally scheduled for early next month, but due to weather conditions and COVID-19 restrictions, the wait will be a bit longer before the first line is launched and the project becomes reality. .


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