“It’s not only a struggle, it’s degrading.”
After little more than an hour wrestling with a wheelchair and peering through vision-impairing glasses, Ald. David Warden declared it’s time for the city to “put a concentrated effort into addressing accessibility issues.”
Several months prior to the 2006 municipal election, City Scope teamed up with accessibility advocate Ed McLachlan to challenge members of council and mayoral/aldermanic candidates to experience frustrations encountered by city residents dealing with accessibility issues in their daily routine.
Warden was joined by council hopeful Carol Van Rooy and the pair warily agreed to proceed from the city hall parking lot to the public library then return to city hall.
The intrepid duo nearly called it quits, however, following a nail-biting crossing of Curtis Street with nothing in the way of a break from impatient motorists.
While the city has made some progress with accessibility concerns in public buildings, McLachlan informs there is still a long way to go and he would like to educate all candidates prior to the October vote.
As such, the second edition of the City Scope accessibility challenge will team McLachlan with any municipal candidate willing to educate themselves first hand.
Or, as Ald. Warden noted four years ago, ““How can I comment until I have experienced this for myself.”
To register, contact City Scope or Ed McLachlan at 519-631-7239.
WHY WE DIDN’T CALL
At the July 19 city council meeting, in response to questions from Ald. Warden, Elgin St. Thomas Public Health board chairman, Ald. Bill Aarts, wondered why this corner had not contacted him personally with regard to any concerns we may have.
Reality check in Aisle 5, Bill.
In March of this year, we were alerted to the fact four ESTPH staffers were let go and we immediately contacted chairman Aarts for further information and comment.
His response, “I can’t comment on that because the board doesn’t get involved in the personnel end. It’s not our jurisdiction.”
At that same time, CEO Cynthia St. John advised, “Any personnel matters in this organization, depending on the issue, are discussed at the board table.”
In a subsequent interview, St. John confirmed matters of property, personnel and labour relations are most certainly dealt with by chairman Aarts and the board of directors.
This lack of candor on the part of chairman Aarts is the reason no further calls were placed.
Something Southwold voters should keep in mind.
THE T-J REACHES OUT
A tip of the City Scope hat to Ian Raven over at the Elgin Military Museum for passing along the following correspondence from Sgt. Tim Longo of St. Thomas.
“Despite being deployed in Kandahar, I managed to catch the Times-Journal article of the new ship models (the photo was front page on Thursday),” writes Tim.
“They look good and I will have to make a point of stopping by and seeing them up close when I get home.”
We’ll pray for your safe return, Tim, and as Ian Raven points out, “It certainly shows the T-J is still considered the hometown paper.”
QUESTION OF THE WEEK
With the municipal vote just three months distant, St. Thomas voters should be armed with as much information as possible to evaluate the performance of the current council to determine just who should remain serving at city hall for an additional four years.
Residents no doubt have nagging questions that need to be answered as the campaign gains momentum and the nastiness quotient boils over.
Well, send them this way (and they can also be directed at new mayoral and aldermanic candidates) and let’s put them on the table for discussion.
This corner will delve into the dizzying debate by wondering, just how often is the once highly-touted multi-purpose room at the Timken Centre rented out and how much revenue does it generate for the city?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“We feel with the information we’ve put out so far, that everyone should know.”
Dave White, city roads and transportation supervisor, says because this is the second year St. Thomas Transit has operated on the Civic Holiday Monday, there should be no need to promote the service through flyers or newspaper ads. Well, at least one member of council was caught off guard when we asked if buses are running Monday.
And, why did Dave have to call back T-J reporter Kyle Rea (after an initial interview) to confirm Monday’s scheduled service?
City Scope appears every Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be e-mailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.