Senior gets a rough ride on Petrolia sidewalks

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Doug Vollans doesn’t want to cause problems but he wants people to be aware of the poor state of Petrolia’s sidewalks.

The Meadowview Villa resident likes to go downtown to shop and Sunday, he headed out on the sidewalks of Petrolia Line in his brand-new $13,000 wheelchair for just the second time.

The foot piece hit a piece of raised concrete jolted the chair, he flew off and the leg piece broke right off. Vollans was able to get himself back on the chair, but lost his shoe. His grandson later found it.

He turned around to head back to the nursing home and hit another pothole while trying to get onto a sidewalk from a driveway. The chair flipped backwards and this time two people stopped to help him get back on.

Vollans is very thankful for the help of the people who never identified themselves. And he wants to warn other people in wheelchairs to be careful along the sidewalk.

“I don’t want to kick up a fuss, but I don’t want to see people get hurt.”

Vollans doesn’t blame the town for what he believes is the poor repair of the sidewalks. He says the provincial government has cutback so much capital funding they only have money for the essentials. “It’s the provincial government’s fault – not the town’s; they’re trying their best.”

Vollans has already talked with town staff and will file paperwork to see if the municipality will pay for the repairs to his brand new chair.

And he says, in the future, there won’t be a lot of trips downtown. “I love going up town…I like to show but from now on, I’m going to get LEO (Lambton Elderly Outreach) to drop my butt off at Wal-Mart.

“I can’t get my butt up town – it’s too bloody dangerous.”