Council debates access policy

CITY COUNCIL rejected the first draft of a policy to hold city events in wheelchair accessible venues “whenever possible.”

  • Feb. 6, 2012 7:00 p.m.

RAMPS LIKE this one make it possible for those who can’t use stairs independently to access buildings.

CITY COUNCIL rejected the first draft of a policy to hold city events in wheelchair accessible venues “whenever possible.”

The policy was initiated last November at the final meeting of Terrace’s former council.

It was sparked after members of a local committee dedicated to accessibility and inclusion for seniors and those with disabilities couldn’t attend the Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards because they couldn’t access the venue.

It read, “whenever possible, the City of Terrace will host public City events or invitation-only city events at venues that provide adequate accessibility for persons with physical disabilities.”

Holding city events in accessible venues was the final policy brought forth by former councillor Carol Leclerc, who intended for the city to take a leadership role in Terrace becoming more accessible, especially with an aging population.

“We’re giving a message to the hospitality industry that we want (Terrace) to be more accessible,” said Brian Downie at the Jan. 23 council meeting.

Acting mayor Bruce Bidgood agreed with its intent but criticized the policy’s wording.

“I have an objection to it,” he said. “Whenever possible could be whenever it’s convenient.”

He added that unless there’s some over arching circumstance that makes using an accessible venue impossible, the city must be seen to be upholding its own policy.

He suggested that should the city deviate from it, the decision come before council for approval first.

Councillor Marylin Davies agreed about re-wording the policy.

“It’s got to have some teeth,” she said, meaning a policy must be strong and also enforceable.

But, Davies pointed out that spaces large enough to hold the biggest events in town, other than the Best Western Hotel which is not accessible, is Terrace’s sportsplex.

She said she’s also concerned about isolating the business community that has helped carry the city through some tough economic times.

“These are people who do their taxes and run their businesses in our town,” she said.

Local business owner Gus Gerdei can attest to the expense of making an accessible venue.

Gerdei owns two establishments in the same building, the Back Eddy Pub which has wheelchair access via a ramp, and the Bavarian Inn located upstairs, which does not.

He said that to install a lift for upstairs would cost in the $50,000 range, adding that becomes more expensive while paying interest on a loan.

“That’s a big, big cost and I don’t have that loose change,” he said, adding a couple of times in the past people have been carried up the stairs there.

But while Davies acknowledged financial challenges to business owners due to expensive upgrades, she said she thinks the overall message has “good intent.”

It was decided in council that evening that the policy would be re-written.

The new draft will be brought back before council again for approval.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

What is the future of transportation in Terrace?

Active transportation, transit, road networks to play a big part in the coming years

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

Terrace firefighters heading south to help battle wildfires in Oregon

Over 200 B.C. firefighting personnel will assist in the U.S.

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Most Read