The Courier

Left to Right: Paige Skarsen (caregiver), Linda Dunn (curatorial manager, Cold Lake Museums), Wanda Stacey (curator, Cold Lake Air Force Museum), Chris Holoboff (chair, Cold Lake Museums Society). Seated in the stairlift is KayLee Hallwachs of Axcelling Forward – Supplied Photo

In conjunction with the International Day for Persons with Disabilities on Dec. 3, the Cold Lake Museums invited KayLee Hallwachs of Axcelling Forward to visit and try out some of the new options at the Museums for those of our visitors who experience mobility and accessibility challenges.

Due to both financial limitations as well as the status of our facility as a National Historic Resource, we have been constrained in the past as to what kinds of accessibility options we can offer. Thankfully, we were able to recently install a large stairlift that will allow visitors to move more easily between the main and second floors of the Museums, as well as a second smaller stairlift that will allow easier access to the Heritage Museum. The stairlifts were installed this fall by Medicare Lloydminster, who were excellent and passionate about their work. Their customer care is amazing! Thank you so much. A special thank you also to Blair Turcotte for his many hours mudding, sanding and painting the entire Cold Lake Air Force Museum stairwell to prepare it for the stairlift., and for constructing a set of beautiful wooden stairs and a landing for the Heritage Museum to prepare for the second stairlift.

Another wonderful improvement this fall was the design and installation of a concrete pad outside our Oil & Gas Museum, which makes another great access point for those with mobility and accessibility challenges. In the past, we had an issue with wheelchairs sinking in the soft ground while navigating to the access ramp at that entrance. Thanks to Kirby Vincent and his team, and Knelsen Concrete, visitors will have an easier time entering the Oil & Gas Museum.

We would also like to thank the City of Cold Lake for their continued support for improvements such as this to our facility.

These changes do not allow full accessibility for the Cold Lake Museums, and we highly recommend calling us before your visit to discuss how we can optimize your visit. Visitors will still need assistance to transport their own wheelchairs or walkers to the upper floor, or else use one of our very basic manual wheelchairs available on each floor. In addition, if visitors require assistance in transferring to the stairlift from a chair, they would need to bring a trained family member, friend, or assistant, as the staff at the museum are only trained in running the stairlift, not transferring visitors. 

Ms. Hallwachs will help us to identify where we can make further improvements as circumstances permit in order to help ALL our visitors have the best experience possible at the Cold Lake Museums. We are so happy to be able to celebrate this milestone with her. Thank you so much, KayLee!


The new concrete pad outside the Oil and Gas Museums

The stairs and stairlift



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