Nepean Man Inspires Help for People with Disabilities

Nepean Man Inspires Help for People with Disabilities
Federal Funds to help with synagogue elevator and accessible door for Nepean Housing

Ottawa — Pierre Poilievre, Member of Parliament for Nepean-Carleton, announced funding for two new projects under the Government of Canada’s Enabling Accessibility Fund, which will increase accessibility for people with disabilities and enable them to participate more fully in their communities.

Poilievre’s announcement means that the Congregation Beit Tikvah of Ottawa will receive $50,000 to install an elevator in their synagogue. The work will begin shortly and the goal is to have the elevator fully functional by September of this year.

Poilievre was inspired to help with the project after meeting Ian Kagedan while door-knocking in Craig Henry, Nepean. Mr. Kagedan, the Past President of Beit Tikvah, was confined to a wheelchair in 2008 because of a neurological disease. Since this time, Mr. Kagedan has only been able to participate in ceremonies and celebrations on the main floor, excluding both he and his wife from many events. Mr. Kagedan’s situation brought to light the lack of accessibility in the synagogue and the congregation soon rallied together to start the process of changing this. After four years, this dream is finally becoming a reality.

“It has been difficult for Ian and I, as well as others with mobility issue, not being able to participate in the social, cultural and celebratory gatherings downstairs in our synagogue,” said Shoshana Kagedan, Mr. Kagedan’s wife. “This announcement brings us tremendous joy because we will now be able to join the rest of the congregation, fully able to access all of the synagogue’s offerings. This is a great move towards our synagogue’s goal of enabling all to fully share in the life of our community.”

“It is important to us at Beit Tikvah to view everyone as ‘capable’ and ‘participatory’ no matter what the limitations of their physical abilities,” said Susan Marcus, President of Beit Tikvah. “I am very grateful to the Government of Canada for these vital funds that will allow us to make the necessary changes to our building – so that in every aspect of our synagogue life we can be united, strengthening not only our community, but our ability to contribute to the greater Ottawa community as never before.”

Poilievre also announced, on behalf of John Baird, MP for Ottawa-West Nepean, that Nepean Housing will receive $12,500 to install an accessible door and automatic door openers in their facility at 130 Centrepointe Drive.

“In our continued effort to make accessibility a standard for all Canadians, the Federal Government has come through for our apartment building at 130 Centrepointe,” said Val Hinsperger, Executive Director of Nepean Housing. “Through the use of this grant, we can now ensure that everyone will be able to enter and depart with greater ease, enabling greater choice, equality and physical freedom for all who live, visit and work in this building.”

Currently, residents who need automatic doors can only enter from one area of the building, causing frustration and can present a hazard during the winter months. Virginia Carroll, a resident of 130 Centrepointe, expressed her support for the project saying “The easy access doors will be very beneficial for all of us in our daily lives, making entry to the building easier, especially for those who have physical disabilities and the elderly.”

Through the Enabling Accessibility Fund, the Government has supported over 800 projects across the country, including 188 new projects totaling $6.2 million that were recently announced.


Nepean Housing: Poilievre pictured with residents and staff from Nepean Housing.

Beit Tikvah (L to R): Susan Marcus, Rabbi Finkelstein, Pierre Poilievre, Ian & Shoshana Kagedan