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Family says Emera Oval needs more accessible equipment

Kiera, 17, has had problems getting accessible equipment twice at the oval
Inline skaters on the Emera Oval (Meghan Groff/

The parents of an Auburn High School student are hoping the municipality will address the lack of accessible equipment at the Emera Oval after their daughter left the facility in tears.

Kiera Sparks-Lucas, who has cerebral palsy, is a volunteer with her school's international student program, the group headed to the oval Saturday to go biking and inline skating.

The 17-year-old has had issues getting equipment at the facility before, so she called ahead and was told there would be accessible bikes available, but when they arrived, her mother said they weren't usable.

Michelle Stevens told NEWS 95.7's The Sheldon MacLeod Show, her daughter was given a trike that was so small, she couldn't actually peddle it because her legs were too long.

"So we took that back and asked for something more suitable for her, and they said they had a hand bike" she explained. "But when we took the hand bike out, after a few steps, we realized a cord was wrapped around the hand pedals and we couldn't actually pedal it."

Stevens said when they returned that, they were told the facility didn't have any other available accessible equipment.

"Kiera was really, really upset," said Stevens. "She just broke down in tears, she started crying, she kept saying, "I worked so hard to make this happen, it's just not right.'"

Stevens said this isn't the first time they've had issues at the oval.

She said when the family visited on New Year's Eve, they found all the accesible sledges used for ice surfaces were gone.

"We did spend some time watching people skate around the ice, we could only see one sledge on the ice," she said. "That led us to question what was going on, why there was only one sledge, why there weren't more available."

Stevens said her daughter has been able to get past these incidents quicker than her parents.

Michelle's husband Devin took to Facebook to vent his frustration in a post that's been shared over 400 times, and a few municipal councillors have said they'd look into the issue.

Stevens said she's optimistic a solution can be found, adding her family is willing to help out by sharing their experience or fundraising for more equipment.

"After two times of this happening to her, we really want this addressed, so it doesn't happen to her or anybody else who is looking to take their child to the oval to enjoy it."

Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana and lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the editor for CityNews Halifax.
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