Misinformation Addressed: My Delegation On Open Air Barriers

The blogger at amherstburg2.wordpress.com summarized the March 13, 2023 council meeting and I felt compelled to address some omissions and what I feel is a disservice.

Wikipedia: An opinion is a judgment, viewpoint, or statement that is not conclusive, rather than facts, which are true statements.

She felt that Open Air does not comply with AODA legislation. 

I stated, “I heard Councillor Pouget acknowledge the obligation to comply with the AODA and the Human Rights Code.”  

Because of statements by Deputy Mayor Gibb, who said he had accessibility training, who spoke personally and not as a person with a disability; and because of other statements I found offensive, I also stated, “But it was disheartening and concerning to hear statements like:

  • that’s not for this group to address, that’s a policy of the town. 
  • it is accessible.
  • it’s more accessible for people, at least in wheelchairs,
  • everybody loves Open Air the way it is,
  • there are no barriers,
  • and we’ve never had one complaint.”

She felt that she had complained publicly about this issue by writing emails and letters. 

I stated, ‘On numerous occasions, I raised the issue in emails, written submissions, blog posts, social media, questions to the candidates, and in letters to the editor.’ 

I made this statement because Anne Rota claimed, ‘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.’

She felt that Ontario has blatant and overt discrimination with barriers for those with disabilities. 

I stated, “Former Lieutenant Governor David Onley noted in the third AODA Review Report: We are the only minority group in our society that faces blatant, overt discrimination and whose civil rights are infringed upon every day from multiple directions.”

It is a disservice to the memory of the late Honourable Lieutenant Governor and his advocacy to attribute his words to me and my feelings, even though I have lived the discrimination he refers to.

I included some barriers, and specifically, attitudinal barriers since they are sometimes the biggest barrier. I stated, ‘attitudes: making assumptions about people with disabilities; for example, what constitutes acceptable walking distances and accessible parking locations.’

She felt that if Open Air was approved as is, then council is excluding those with disabilities.

I stated, “If you approve Open Air as it is, then you’re also approving barriers that exclude people with disabilities.”

Fun fact: accessible parking has not been called ‘handicap’ parking in the legislation since 2009.