Members of the Sudbury's Accessibility Advisory Panel are headed to a public budget consultation meeting tonight to voice their concerns about accessibility in the city.
Roughly 22,000 people in Sudbury live with some sort of disability, and the meeting is a chance to talk about municipal infrastructure and services and how its 2013 budget will help advance a more accessible community.
Andrew Olivier, who has been a quadriplegic since he was 14 and is a civilian member of the city's Accessibility Advisory Panel, is accustomed to advocating for issues like these, particularly at budget planning time.
"It's very important that your concerns get [heard] at the budgetary meetings so that [they’re] red-flagged and money gets put aside for it," Olivier said.
"On an almost daily basis I see problems with the sidewalks and curb cuts. It’s very frustrating when you come up to part of the sidewalk that is completely unmanageable. I consider myself a little bit of a daredevil with my wheelchair to go around these types of areas … and there’s a lot."
Proactive approach needed
Councillor Joscelyne Landry-Altmann is also on that panel and said the city needs to take a proactive approach to accessibility.
"Having accessibility always there will improve everything we do," she said.
Landry-Altmann noted past recommendations from the panel have led to the roll-out of the city's wheelchair accessible buses and improved accessibility of the Grace Hartman Amphitheatre at Bell Park.
"Awareness is the first step to getting things rectified," Olivier added.
"There's ways to get your concerns to the city and that's really important. The more people are aware of these things, the more they'll get changed."
The budget consultation meeting will take place in city council chambers at Tom Davies Square at 6 p.m. tonight.
Transcript of audio interview
In order to make this radio piece accessible as possible, some members of The Canadian Hearing Society requested that we transcribe the entire segment that Hilary recorded with Markus during the June 19 edition of Morning North. Markus's questions are in bold and the audio clips that were played are transcribed in italicized text.