My mother was bound to a wheel chair for years before she died. As a child we used to use side doors, back doors, and service entrances to gain entrance to different stores. While I was taking pictures of Bridge Street doors I noticed 75% of the businesses have an entrance issue for anyone that is handicapped. What if you are handicapped and shopping alone?
Of course, there are those who would say that people could impact these situations by not patronizing establishments that don’t make better accommodations. But does our local problem stem from not enough people in wheelchairs to make a dent in making access easier?
Should “it’s at least accessible” really be our standard? How can we find solutions?
There has been an ongoing discussion on the Carleton Place Social Scene with the initial thread begun by Penny Foster. Here are some of the comments. I also asked Kory Earle and Cathie McOrmond in the BIA to submit their thoughts.
From Kory Earle–President at People First of Canada
Dave Hagerman–Looks like Jane has tried really hard to be be welcoming, I think she meant hypothetically IF the town mandated certain dimensions etc the burden would be too great. Trust me, these small shop owners aren’t sitting in private jets counting their stacks of cash from money they’ve saved on bathroom reno’s.
But really if the town wanted to build a small bathroom thats always open near the bridge I will chip in $100 and do the concrete work free of charge. Allow us trades to put up a small, tasteful ad inside the bathroom as compensation and watch the economic benefits for everyone roll in.
let’s not get angry at the people trying to serve the town, lets concentrate our efforts on those who are supposed to facilitate trade
Leslie Rouble— Unless you have been a business/building owner downtown..I don’t think you can understand the constant demands, complaints, hurdles, frustrations, requirements, etc. that they face daily. People have the ability to build up or tear down just by opening their mouths…and when you as a business owner feel defeated many times because nothing is ever good enough, you eventually want to just thrown in the towel. I know because I did it. I had an awesome business and a gorgeous building and I finally said I can’t take it any more. I would love to open another business that I know will be hugely successful but never ever in a million years will it be on the main street of CP and more than likely not even in CP. I totally understand where Jane Dack McLaughlin is coming from,
Janet Bova-Slackoni’s —We have a parking spot, accessible washrooms, accessible front door entrance plus accessible patio. Our green room on the main level is accessible but there are 3 steps into the upper dining room.
Petra Graber —The Thirsty Moose has a concrete ramp to the side door and access on that entrance level with accessible washroom. Ballygiblin’s had an accessible back door, but not accessible washrooms. I am guessing that Chesswood which is opening in that space will be required to have an accessible washroom. This is generally required by municipal building standards when there is a major overhaul of a restaurant space and if there is room to do it.
When At The Dam purchased the building where Slackoni’s is located, the owners would have been required to include full accessibility in their design plan (the building was an empty shell). When the restoration of Greystone’s Inn (more recently known as the Carleton Heritage) was carried out, accessibility was required by the government and was included in the design plan (again, the building was an empty shell). Where and when this is practical, full accessibility is required.
Laura Keller– Might be worth businesses looking into StopGap. Many other communities have taken part. Or perhaps this is a council issue?http://stopgap.ca
The Carleton Place BIA strives to work and support accessibility for all in the downtown.
The BIA has met on several occasions with the town of CP accessibility committee in order to become in engaged in communications.
Accessibility information has been obtained and delivered to merchants.
We have three accessible public washrooms and 4 auditable cross walks in the downtown.
The BIA has worked closely with People First of Lanark County and supported them in their endeavours to create an accessible downtown.
BIA has had regular monthly editorial in their BIA Street Beat.
It is common knowledge that local business owners will step out to car to help someone try shoes on, escort a person in need down the street, clear the sidewalk so someone can pass by or just plain step up when they see a person struggling regardless of their disability or not.
Long before the accessibility campaign was launched by the government BIA merchants has worked to support and encourage those with disabilities to shop. Merchants will take special orders help people in and out of their car and buildings will deliver products to their doors or pick them back up if they are not suitable. The merchants of the BIA value each and every customer and strive to support and empower those with disability yesterday, today and into the future and will continue to work and improve accessibility on a regular basis.
Cathie McOrmondCarleton Place BIA Project Manager
136 Bridge Street
Carleton Place, Ontario
American and Canadian Views