I am hopeful that as many Oshawa residents and businesses as possible take a few minutes to send in their answers and comments to the survey questions. Much positive action can come from this BIA outreach. However, full disclosure, MY NUMBER ONE REASON for asking for the participation of as many Oshawa residents and business as possible concerns making Oshawa more barrier free, and here is why:
In both surveys there is mention of ACCESSIBILITY!
Question 7 in the Business survey "7. What do you think would improve a visitor's experience when visiting Downtown Oshawa? *
Select all that apply. ACCESSIBLE building..."; and
Question 11 in the Oshawa Residents Survey "11. Do you have any concerns about the condition of Downtown Oshawa? *
Select all that apply. Potholes; Parking Spots;. Safety of Cyclists, Pedestrian Safety, ACCESSIBILITY ..."
The CAPS are my emphasis because this is important! Yes, many of the selections apply, but if everyone answering the survey were to make a special comment about the need for Oshawa to be more ACCESSIBLE the message can get through! ...and especially right now is the time because....
It seems the diligent effort and message of the members of the Oshawa Accessibility Advisory Committee is not getting through loud and clear enough, considering how 2 recent Oshawa staff reports unfortunately weaken a resolve on 2 fronts,
1) when it comes to requesting changes to the Ontario Building code to support a portion of new building being constructed without steps to the front door and passageways wide enough for mobility devices, similar to what is already in place only with new apartments buildings...and
2) when it comes to the Downtown CIP (Community Improvement Plan) providing for 100% funding for accessible door openers, up to $3,000.
Weakening these clear and responsible asks during the COVID-19 electronic Council meetings this spring was imo regrettable. But keeping the pressure on is key.
Recently the Region of Durham's Director of Planning spoke at a Commercial Real Estate electronic meeting about the Region's plan for a Region Community Improvement Plan (Region CIP). I asked if ACCESSIBILTY will be included in the program. He said 'good question' and will look into it. (I know, 'good question' is a frequent response at these types of Q&A...but I am taking him at his word and will be following up.
Take a moment and make a pitch for a more 'barrier free' physical environment. PLEASE seriously express to others this summer that we need to make our places of business and new residential construction beyond apartments more ACCESSIBLE.
THANK YOU in advance for doing this!