Scugog Mayor Sounds Warning Again On New Accessibility Rules

Marilyn Pearce urges Scugog chamber to give some thought to regulations
Feb 05, 2009 - 08:46 AM

SCUGOG -- The municipality's business community was once again urged Monday by Scugog's mayor to give some thought to costly new accessibility regulations that must be implemented in coming years.

While reviewing a staff report on comments from the municipality to be sent to the Province regarding the information and communication section of the new Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, Marilyn Pearce appealed to Scugog's businesses to take note of the legislation.

According to that legislation, brought forward in 2005, communities must be barrier-free by 2025. As part of the Province's disability legislation, the five standards of the AODA are customer service, employment, information and communication, transportation and built environment.

Calling the legislation a "confusing and frustrating document," the mayor stated the Scugog Chamber of Commerce "needs to seek assistance from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce... because the requirements (of the new regulations) are huge for businesses."

The business community, she added, doesn't "know how quickly this is coming down the pipe" and questioned whether the local chamber is "too busy to notice their business community is going to be impacted huge by this."

At the Jan. 19 council meeting, Edie Forsyth, chairwoman of the Scugog Accessibility Advisory Committee, noted the local business community is unaware of the potential costs of new accessibility regulations that will require all stores to be barrier-free in the coming years.

She pointed out ensuring Scugog buildings are accessible to everyone will come at "a huge cost.

"Scugog is in a difficult position because your downtown core is a historic community," said Ms. Forsyth, referencing the fact that most shops that dot Queen Street have steps at their front doors.

Such changes to meet the new accessibility requirements "will be costly and there's no (government) funding for it," said Ms. Forsyth.

As for informing the public and, in particular, Scugog's merchants, on the upcoming required changes, Mayor Pearce suggested last month that SAAC officials consider hosting a workshop sometime in 2009 on the matter.

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