Mayor Campsall sees first-hand what visually impaired residents face

Mayor Mitch Campsall puts on vision-impairing glasses during a walk through town Monday, hosted by the White Cane Club. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Mayor Mitch Campsall puts on vision-impairing glasses during a walk through town Monday, hosted by the White Cane Club. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Mayor Mitch Campsall is guided across a bumpy patch of pavement by White Cane Club member Joey Seiler Monday, during a walkabout hosted by the club. (Melissa Smalley - 100 Mile Free Press)Mayor Mitch Campsall is guided across a bumpy patch of pavement by White Cane Club member Joey Seiler Monday, during a walkabout hosted by the club. (Melissa Smalley - 100 Mile Free Press)
Mayor Mitch Campsall is guided across a bumpy patch of pavement by White Cane Club member Joey Seiler Monday, during a walkabout hosted by the club. (Melissa Smalley - 100 Mile Free Press)Mayor Mitch Campsall is guided across a bumpy patch of pavement by White Cane Club member Joey Seiler Monday, during a walkabout hosted by the club. (Melissa Smalley - 100 Mile Free Press)
White Cane Club member Lori Fry points out some treacherous steps near the South Cariboo Business Centre Monday, as Mayor Mitch Campsall and Todd Conway, the director of community services, looks on. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)White Cane Club member Lori Fry points out some treacherous steps near the South Cariboo Business Centre Monday, as Mayor Mitch Campsall and Todd Conway, the director of community services, looks on. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
White Cane Club member Lori Fry explains some of the difficulties of navigating the town's sidewalks to Mayor Mitch Campsall and Todd Conway, the director of community services. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
White Cane Club members Lori Fry (left) and Katelyn Seiler explain some of the difficulties of navigating the town’s sidewalks to Mayor Mitch Campsall and Todd Conway, the director of community services. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)White Cane Club members Lori Fry (left) and Katelyn Seiler explain some of the difficulties of navigating the town’s sidewalks to Mayor Mitch Campsall and Todd Conway, the director of community services. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Mayor Mitch Campsall and Todd Conway, director of community services, examine a concrete pillar in front of the 100 Mile Library, as Lori Fry from the White Cane Club explains why it is a hazard to those with vision loss. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Mayor Mitch Campsall and Todd Conway, director of community services, examine a concrete pillar in front of the 100 Mile Library, as Lori Fry from the White Cane Club explains why it is a hazard to those with vision loss. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
White Cane Club member Lori Fry demonstrates to Mayor Mitch Campsall how to glide her white cane across the uneven pavement to detect hazards. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)White Cane Club member Lori Fry demonstrates to Mayor Mitch Campsall how to glide her white cane across the uneven pavement to detect hazards. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

While he didn’t walk a full mile in the shoes of the visually impaired, Mayor Mitch Campsall did walk a block this week.

Wearing a pair of special glasses that simulate serious vision loss and holding a white cane, Campsall was guided along a walkway on Birch Avenue, between the library and the South Cariboo Business Centre.

It’s a stretch of road that is particularly bad after the spring melt, with dips, divots and cracks galore.

“This is unreal,” Campsall said as he slowly inched his way across the parking lot entrance, gently gliding the cane back and forth across the bumps and grooves of the pavement. “Now I understand a lot better what it’s like.”

After reaching the safety of the sidewalk, guided by White Cane Club member Joey Seiler, Campsall removed the glasses and breathed a sigh of relief.

“That was absolutely horrendous trying to figure out how to get through that safely,” he said. “I wouldn’t have wanted to do that myself.”

READ MORE: White Cane Club looks to work with business community to install high visibility paint

The experiment was part of a walkabout that Campsall and the district’s director of community services, Todd Conway, took part in Monday morning at the invitation of the White Cane Club.

The group walked a few blocks along Birch Avenue, pointing out some of the most hazardous areas for those with vision along sidewalks and in parking lots.

Campsall said it was helpful for the district to be aware of the issues so they can support making the community safer for not only the visually impaired, but for the aging population as well.

“It’s a learning experience for me, a real eye opener,” he told the club members. “Bringing awareness is always a good thing, so you should definitely keep doing this.”



melissa,smalley@100milefreepress.net

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