Then-Councillor Now Mayor Prue On Gordon House Accessibility

This is what I call a flip flop. Then-Councillor Prue spoke about the Gordon House not being accessible, campaigned to ensure all town buildings are accessible to facilitate an open and inclusive municipality, then agreed the Gordon House should be repaired – not a word about accessibility during that discussion. No answer to a question about it either. 

Then-Councillor Prue made these comments at a December 2021 council meeting:

very brief questions, the act, the Ontarians with Disability Act, is nearly 20 years old, and January 1, 2025 everything’s supposed to be in place and I’m just wondering, do we have time or what are the plans for this year we’re going to be at 2022, what are the plans for this year for the buildings that are not accessible? This one is not accessible. The tourist facility at the Gordon house is not accessible. The two that come immediately to my head these are big capital expenditures or maybe we have to move I don’t know but have we got time to do it? Are you putting Are you going to recommend a lot of money for this year or possibly next year’s budget because a fair amount is going to have to be spent because we can’t wait any longer. (emphasis added). (audio

January 2022, then-councillor Prue commented:

I don’t know that we have not done everything as a council we should have done to help the many people who live in Amherstburg to have accessibility to our town and to its services. I’ve said this to council before I was the initial speaker in the legislature on this and I was very unappreciative of the fact it was taking 21 years to come to fruition, but that’s about to happen now.

2022 Campaign website Prue working for you: Priorities included Ensure all town buildings are accessible to facilitate an open and inclusive municipality.

February 12, 2023 Email to all members of council when agenda was published:

it’s hard to rationalize the grant application to spruce up the Gordon House. ‘Inclusive’ and ‘diverse’ seem to be the newest buzz words, but we can’t be an inclusive, welcoming community if we exclude people with disabilities. why is the tourism department not based in the tourist booth on the highway where the building is actually welcoming without barriers? will heritage once again take precedence over accessibility?

February 13, 2023 Mayor Prue commented during the discussion of grants, including funding for the Gordon House to complete the painting and siding, install a storage shed and replace windows.

any other discussion? Seeing none I’ll pass the gavel just for a second. I’m going to vote with the recommendation that’s just been made because this I have never been on this council or seen anybody on this council even in the past look away from money that a senior level of government is going to give to the municipality. This does not bind us to anything. If they want to give us 50 or $100,000 or whatever it is, I think we should take it. You know we have the Gordon house is the oldest building. It’s in need of some structural repair. For sure we need an economic development slash communications officer. And if this helps us to move along, then I think we should and I’ll take the gavel back. Any other discussion? All those in favor? Opposed? Carries. (emphasis added).

February 15, 2023 Email to all members of council after the vote:

i predicted council would confirm the importance of the Gordon House, but i would still appreciate an answer to my question: why is the tourism department not based in the tourist booth on the highway?

Councillor Crain: Tourism Windsor-Essex operates the tourism booth during the summer months as an information centre.

The burg watch: thanks, but that doesn’t answer my question.

Copyright – this information is protected by Canada’s Copyright Act. Request written permission from the burg watch at gmail dot com.

Disclaimer: the information is presented as is according to my notes. videos are available at the town’s website.

The Mayor’s Job

Head of council as chief executive officer

226.1 As chief executive officer of a municipality, the head of council shall,

(a)  uphold and promote the purposes of the municipality;

(b)  promote public involvement in the municipality’s activities;

(c)  act as the representative of the municipality both within and outside the municipality, and promote the municipality locally, nationally and internationally; and

(d)  participate in and foster activities that enhance the economic, social and environmental well-being of the municipality and its residents.  2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 101.

Tell Councillor McArthur There Are Barriers At Open Air

Email Councillor McArthur, council’s rep on the Amherstburg Accessibility Advisory Committee, at to tell him there are barriers at Open Air.

The role of the Amherstburg Accessibility Advisory Committee, is to provide advice to the municipal government on a wide range of municipal processes to help make public services and facilities accessible to everyone.

Who Does What?

Roles of Council And Administration


represent the public and to consider the well-being and interests of the municipality;

develop and evaluate the policies and programs of the municipality;

determine which services the municipality provides;

ensure that administrative policies, practices and procedures and controllership policies, practices and procedures are in place to implement the decisions of council;

ensure the accountability and transparency of the operations of the municipality, including the activities of the senior management of the municipality;

maintain the financial integrity of the municipality; and

carry out the duties of council under this or any other Act.


implement council’s decisions and establish administrative practices and procedures to carry out council’s decisions;

undertake research and provide advice to council on the policies and programs of the municipality; and

carry out other duties required under this or any Act and other duties assigned by the municipality.

Where Are Council Minutes? Video? Audio?

Minutes: the last record I could find was October 17, 2022 minutes were approved at the January 23, 2023 Regular Council Meeting.

The last record I could locate at the external site is October 17, 2022.

The December 5, 2022 minutes  have not yet been approved;

Video: I wanted to post a link to the February 22, 2023 video in case anyone was interested in watching the full meeting but it is not listed in the town’s calendar.

The February 28 PDF links to the February 27 meeting.

Audio: the last record I could find for committee audio recordings is 2022.

Hear Open Air Barriers Discussion – Deputy Mayor Gibb And Councillor McArthur

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:

Deputy Mayor Gibb 
Okay. And as my second thing I wanted to address because I’ve heard that a lot over the last couple days about accessibility of Open Air. I don’t identify as someone with a disability but my mother-in-law and father-in-law both live at Richmond Terrace. And I’ve personally pushed a wheelchair from Richmond, well, one of their each wheelchairs from Richmond Terrace downtown, and I’ll tell you, you cannot believe the relief to be able to get off of our uneven sidewalks with trees growing out of them and all kinds of obstacles. They’re not wide enough. To me, Open Air makes the downtown more accessible for people with in at least in wheelchairs because I’ll tell you right now, try and push a wheelchair down one of those downtown sidewalks and you’ll see exactly what I mean. So we enjoy bringing them for Open Air because we don’t have to worry about trying to maneuver the wheelchair on a narrow uneven sidewalk so that’s I just want to put my two cents in there.

Councillor McArthur
Thank you Your Worship. I mean, I’ll happily champion Open Air when the time comes when the time is right I’m not sure if that time is now though. I mean, the motion on the floor is correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s to boost the you know this tourism budget by $80,000 to fund the True Festival, the car show, the Santa Claus parade, Truth and Reconciliation, River Lights, plus a contingency; we’re not looking for a boost to Open Air funding, correct?

Anne Rota 
That’s correct.

Councillor McArthur 
Okay, so I mean, I think I might keep my powder dry because as things stand right now, Open Air’s a go until someone tries to rip it apart. And I hope they don’t do that and we can discuss that when they do.

Tell Anne Rota there are barriers; email

Copy me at theburgwatch at

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

Copy me at theburgwatch at

Tell Anne Rota There Are Barriers At Open Air

Anne Rota wanted to address the accessibility issue in response to Councillor Pouget’s accessibility concerns at Open Air. Rota mentioned there are no barriers and ‘we’ve never had one complaint. That’s the honest truth in three years.’

Rota has not responded to my February 24 email wherein I asked if she was referring to the tourism department, the town, or both.

Tell Anne Rota there are barriers; email

Copy me at theburgwatch at

February 14 Council In-Camera Meeting Video Released

The Special in-camera meeting that was held for the reason set out below is now available for viewing at the town’s website.

  • That Council move into an In-Camera Meeting of Council pursuant to Section 239 of the Municipal Act, 2001, as amended for the following reasons:

    Item A – Asset Management Training Session
    Section 239(3.1) A meeting held for the purpose of education or training of Members.