May 10, 2011
The begining portion of this article discusses Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley’s support for accessibility issues.
By CATHY DOBSON, The Observer
The sooner, the better.
Sarnia council wants the quick removal of barriers that create additional challenges for the disabled in Ontario.
The city’s politicians went on record Monday opposing efforts by the Association of Municipalities and the Ontario Public Transit Association to delay the province’s Integrated Accessibility Regulation (IAR).
At Mayor Mike Bradley’s urging, council voted to support the IAR and asked Lambton County council to do the same.
Council also endorsed a request from Coun. Bev MacDougall to ask the provincial government to commit dollars to assist municipalities meet the new standards.
“As an aging community, there’s going to be greater need for our buildings to comply and the costs will be significant,” MacDougall said.
Coun. Jon McEachran said he’s heard local business owners say they are concerned about the cost.
“When push comes to shove, it could cause some small businesses to go out of business,” McEachran said.
“I’m all for the legislation, especially for new construction, but I’m leery of voting for something if it is retroactive.”
City staff said they believe the legislation relates to new construction only.
“The key is that this is a good business opportunity to expand customer base,” said Bradley, who has aggressively taken up the cause of access issues.
It’s also a matter of respect, he added.