Low interest in St. Mary’s accessibility plan, council told

ST. MARY’S – Municipal staff have asked St. Mary’s councillors for their assistance in promoting a survey designed to gauge the accessibility needs of residents in the area.

“I’m here today to ask for your help [regarding] community consultation for the municipal accessibility plan,” Municipal Clerk Mallory Fraser told council’s committee of the whole meeting on Oct. 19. “We have completed, in person, three community consultations to date with very little attendance at any of them. They were all advertised in the municipal newsletter, Facebook and Voyent Alert. We have also put a survey out on our website and Facebook, and it’s [had] very little response.”

The survey, which takes about 10 minutes to fill out, stipulates that the “Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s is committed to equitable access to community life and participation in society for people of all abilities. The Municipality will work to eliminate and prevent barriers to ensure that environments are welcoming, inclusive, and an accepting place for all people and is looking for your feedback.”

Fraser added: “We are working with a community of people who are hard to reach to begin with. Nobody is more experienced and knowledgeable about [the] communities than the councillors here. So, I am requesting that, if you are aware of anyone or even speaking with anyone, please bring up the accessibility survey, and take copies with you. If anyone needs help in completing then survey, they can give me a call and I can help facilitate that as well.”

According to St. Mary’s website, “The Province of Nova Scotia is on a journey to become an accessible province by 2030. This includes working with municipalities to remove barriers to inclusion that people with barriers face every day. Our collective efforts will help ensure all Nova Scotians can participate fully in society.”

Deputy Warden James Fuller said he planned to take copies of the survey to the community centre in his district (Goshen & Area). “I’ll ask people to fill them out, and then I’ll go pick them [surveys] up.”

Councillor Beulah Malloy (Indian Harbour Lake & Sonora Area) said, “I’ll take some next month for our social.”

The municipal accessibility survey is available on the St. Mary’s website. Hard copies are also available at the municipal office in Sherbrooke (902-522-2049).

Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal