Executive assistant says there are plans to renovate rear of building
BOWMANVILLE — Granville Anderson is the new Member of Provincial Parliament for Durham riding. He was elected on June 12 during the provincial election. June 16, 2014 Uxbridge Times Journal
By Brad Andrews
CLARINGTON — Durham MPP Granville Anderson’s move into a new constituency office in downtown Bowmanville has drawn criticism over accessibility concerns.
On Tuesday, Nov. 11 Mr. Anderson moved into his new office at 23 King St. W., just down the street from his previous office, which was not accessible through the front entrance due to a raised step. The new office is larger but now has two steps leading up to its front entrance.
Both locations are accessible through rear doors but to reach the new office’s back entrance, one must use an uneven path from Temperance Street that is pockmarked by small- to medium-sized potholes and washed out areas with raised lips.
Bowmanville resident Steven Kay contacted Mr. Anderson on the issue, which he says is important to him as he has family members with mobility issues.
“To expect people to go around to the back door, to go to a security door and knock to get in, well it doesn’t feel right to me,” said Mr. Kay, who pointed out it was the Liberal government who made accessibility mandatory in the next 10 years.
“I think our MPP should be setting an example,” said. Mr. Kay. “They should be guiding the way.”
Justin MacLean, executive assistant to Mr. Anderson, acknowledged the problems with the rear entrance and said they’ve been in contact with the landlord over the situation. According to Mr. MacLean, attempts at finding different locations failed when landlords would not allow them to make changes for accessibility. He noted conditions at the new office worsened since they selected the location two months ago.
“It wasn’t that bad; it’s much worse,” said Mr. MacLean regarding the washed-out portions. “We have to get that dealt with and that’s a problem.”
Calling the new office “a work in progress” Mr. MacLean said the new location was chosen because of its high visibility in the downtown area and proximity to public transit routes, and parking spaces available in the back. Ideally vehicles could bring people with accessibility issues right to the front door but problems persist for those trying to gain access from the street. Mr. MacLean said plans addressing concerns over the rear entrance will include repaving areas behind the building and redoing the back door to look more like an entrance way.
“Granville wants to champion this issue by finding alternative methods for becoming accessible in historic downtowns before the 2025 deadlines,” said Mr. MacLean.
He added they hope the work to the rear areas of the building will be completed before it’s too far into winter.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) became law in 2005 with the intent to create a fully accessible province by 2025. A Dec. 31 deadline is approaching for organizations with 50 or more employees to meet a range of requirements under the act.
ONTARIO’S REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DECEMBER AODA DEADLINE
- Create a multi-year plan to meet accessibility requirements.
- Establish policies to meet requirements and tell employees and customers about them.
- Consider accessibility when purchasing or designing electronic kiosks.
- Make new websites, and content on those websites, accessible.
- File an accessibility report no later than Dec. 31, 2014