TBM's street patio barricades blocked accessibility ramp

·2 min read

Following backlash from community members, the Town of the Blue Mountains (TBM) will once again be rearranging the barricades it has placed in downtown Thornbury.

TBM staff recently placed barricades along Bruce Street South in Thornbury in an effort to create more space for COVID-safe seating for the public, however the placement of the barricades blocked one of the only accessibility ramps along the town's main street.

“This ramp is located directly behind the handicap parking spot,” said local resident Debbie Crosskill in a letter to council. “Anyone who has had to load and unload a wheelchair or walker knows the difficulty and need for space. This ramp area allows a vehicle to unload, get the individual onto the sidewalk and then pull into the handicap parking if available. The same is possible when it is time to leave.”

The plans for the barricades had been brought to town council after receiving approval from the Thornbury BIA board.

TBM council approved establishing the barricades on Bruce Street South at a council meeting held on March 29.

“I am writing to council to express my disappointment in their oversight of our disabled residents and visitors to our community,” wrote local resident Sharon Long.

“Taking the barricades into consideration, my family members are unable to access the street and sidewalk from their vehicles parked in the disabled person parking spot since the access point to the sidewalk has been removed,” Long continued.

Town staff say Bruce Street South sits in Grey County’s jurisdiction and required collaboration with the county, as well as the Grey Bruce Health Unit, to establish the seating area.

“In the research that we've done, there's nothing that specifically ties that spot for the curb cut out to the accessible parking spot,” said TBM CAO Shawn Everitt. “That being said, from a staff perspective, I completely understand the concerns because where that cut out is located is very convenient.”

At a council meeting held on Monday afternoon, following some discussion, council directed staff to remove the barricades from Bruce Street and relocate the barriers to the parkette that has been created at 15/17 Arthur Street West.

Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca

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