Orangeville council hears more can be done to ensure accessibility

March 23, 2023   ·   0 Comments


Orangeville needs to tend to its handicapped parking signage.

That was the message Amaranth resident Keith McKibbon delivered to Orangeville town council during its public meeting on Mar. 20.

McKibbon said the municipality increased the number of available accessible parking spaces in 2021. But he wanted to know when signage would be erected indicating the spaces.

McKibbon said he’s been handicapped for much of his life. And, given his age, he’s at times needed oxygen in addition to a walker. That’s made him more conscious of the need for better accessibility, he said.

“The bylaw officers need to survey the town, the businesses, and the apartments areas to locate where handicapped parking is required,” McKibbon said.

And those spots, after they’ve been identified according to areas of need, should be indicated with the correct identifiers, McKibbon said.

“I have already noticed that there are no handicapped spots all along Broadway,” he alleged. “Where are the handicapped people supposed to park in order to shop at the stores on Broadway?”

He approached staff at some of the shops and at Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones’s office to ask about such parking. He said he was told designating and marking spaces for handicapped parking is the municipality’s responsibility.

“There are many handicapped signs in Orangeville that have incomplete information or incorrect information,” McKibbon said. “Often the signs indicating handicapped parking have the markings on the ground. With the winter weather, these markings are worn off.”

The spaces should be marked with a sign on a pole, he said.

McKibbon’s noticed newer signs in the vicinity of Orangeville’s town hall. And he encouraged council to direct staff to update signage in the rest of the town sooner rather than later.

McKibbon also pointed out that some business establishments have entrances with doors that would be too heavy to be opened by the elderly or handicapped. Further, some of those automatic doors even have buttons that don’t function consistently.

“Complaints to the owners have gone unattended,” he said.

Orangeville has a committee devoted to accessibility in the community. Mayor Lisa Post said that the group has been trying to find ways to increase the number of accessible parking spaces along Broadway.

“Specifically, more than anything, when there are road closures,” she said. “Right now, most of the accessible parking spaces are available in the lots, the municipal parking lots that are nearby or at town hall here beside the building.

“When the roads become closed what we were finding is that we were losing all of our accessible parking spaces at that point.”

Gary Kocialek, the town’s interim general manager of infrastructure services, said a new bylaw regarding accessible parking wasn’t passed in 2021, as McKibbon indicated. Rather, there was a clarification of rules that stated buildings with 12 parking spaces has to designate one for handicapped use.

“Anything above that, it was four per cent of the parking had to be accessible,” Kocialek said. “So our zooming bylaw got updated to that.”

He said areas of poor signage can possibly be corrected.

McKibbon said he would lend his walker to anybody for 24 hours so they could experience first-hand the importance of accessibility.

“I agree that there is a need for accessibility,” Post said. “We know that there’s still opportunity to do better in the municipality.”

Unfortunately, she said, older buildings are grandfathered in when it comes to conforming to updated accessibility rules. She said Orangeville recently passed its community improvement plan, and it includes rebate incentives for businesses to provide more accessible parking.

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