Making Cornwall accessible

Cornwall Accessibility Committee members Manon Levesque and Carol Escobar made a presentation to city council Sept. 14, 2015. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – The Seaway City is showcased province-wide as being an accessible community.

That nugget from a report to city council from accessibility committee members Manon Levesque and Carol Escobar Monday night.

“Cornwall is showcased quite a bit,” Levesque said about talking about her accessibility meetings across Ontario.

As far as accessibility the city has done over and above what’s required by law include 13 parks with accessible playgrounds and have eight city intersections with audible pedestrian signals.

Levesque highlighted some of the premier facilities for accessibility with the Benson Center and Aquatic Center at the top of the list.

“I felt it was very accommodating to me (and I was in a wheelchair at the time). I think the Benson Center is a good example of that (accessibility),” Escobar added.

“There’s going to be a visit in November and the pool (at the Aquatic Center) is one of them, she said, suggesting the facility didn’t look accessible on the onset.

The Aquatic Center has a six-lane, 25 meter tank with a two-storey water slide, toddler leisure pool and spacious whirlpool.

There are still some improvements that need to be made. Escobar suggests people should report accessibility issues and safety issues to the city through the Pingstreet app.

“It’s working. The first two (pictures) I sent (of sidewalks) there are already pink marks (indicating improvements are going to be made),” Escobar said.

The committee also talkedd about the VisitAbility homes, which have three accessibility features on the main floor: a no-step entrance, wider doorways and hallways, and a wheelchair accessible washroom.

The committee also wants to see a ramp project to allow waterproof slip-resistant ramps outside businesses.

There’s been encouragement at the Heart of the City level to have no-step entrances and many businesses have adopted it, Levesque said.

Coun. Carilyne Hebert said with youth accessibility “children can still be children…every kid has to have that opportunity to be a kid.”

Coun. Andre Rivette said he’s encouraged to see the progress the city has made. “I think made council has made a good stride to make things happen and make buildings accessible to people.”

Coun. Claude McIntosh said the report opened his eyes. “It’s amazing how a four inch step can be such a barrier, we don’t even think about it,” McIntosh said.

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