Hear Open Air Barriers Discussion – Councillor Pouget And Anne Rota

Hear the audio of a portion of the February 22, 2023 meeting and a portion of the discussion about accessibility barriers during the closed streets of Open Air; text is set out below. 

Unofficial transcript:

Councillor Pouget
Okay. And further to that. I really can’t support Open Air three days a week four days on long weekends. Because I can’t tell you how many people have contacted me whether or not they have disabilities because, you know, we’re putting up barriers making it very, very difficult not only for people with disabilities, but for others to use the goods and services that we provide for the town of Amherstburg. And we’re hearing over and over again, just like Councillor Courtney and Councillor Allaire stated that this hurts a lot of the businesses right in the downtown core. They don’t want it and the other people in the other areas McGregor and Malden Centre this doesn’t benefit them at all either. So I cannot justify even if it was a wash about the amount of money due to the fact that it hurts a lot of people and it prevents people with disabilities from using these facilities. I can’t justify three days a week or four days on long weekends.

Anne Rota
Through to you Mr. Mayor, I really want to address the accessibility. That is the wrong information. Yes, we do have what they’re called. No, they’re plastic Jersey barriers, Jersey barrier. Thank you. They are spaced for vehicles not to come into the footprint. We have students at every entrance and exit where the Jersey barriers are. The students staff first of all, they anyone can get through it is assessable. And secondly, if someone needs special assistance, we’ve actually walked them or driven them with the little golf cart, absolutely make sure that everyone can be accommodated to get through and I know I think there’s two handicap parking spots within the Open Air footprint. That’s what is not accessible but the ones beside Caffeine and CO there’s we’ve added another three assessable parking spots there. So we go above and beyond to make sure that is number one that it is accessible. So I don’t agree with that. I’m really sorry.

Councillor Pouget
So, there’s different areas of accessibility somebody could be virtually have problems seeing or whatever, hearing when I see all the streets and they’re packed, and that’s good that they’re packed at that time. But we really expect a caregiver to be able to drop them off, not be able to find parking at all and then to either get in a golf cart, that could be very dangerous to all the pedestrians that are down there, try to squeeze through these places. That is not the way you treat people with disabilities. You treat them with equal opportunity and they don’t have that there.

Anne Rota
Through to you, Mr. Mayor, there are no barriers in Open Air. There are not please come down and have a look. I know that for a fact. It’s not just the golf cart. We’ve actually opened up our arms if someone needs to get through. We’ve never had one complaint. That’s the honest truth in three years, and I’m sure we would have. Thank you.

Tell Anne Rota there are barriers; email arota@amherstburg.ca

Copy me at theburgwatch at gmail.com

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