PORT HOOD: Inverness Municipal Councillor Laurie Cranton will sit at the head of the table when it comes to the Built Environment Standard Development Committee.
“The big goal will be to review the building code and look at the build environment, and recommend changes to the minister,” Cranton said, just after last Thursday’s council meeting where he publicly announced he was selected to serve as chair.
“You want to have a balance for the people who’ll be doing the building, in terms of costs and making it accessible for everybody.”
The Built Environment Standard Development Committee will assist the Accessibility Advisory Board with making recommendations to the Minister of Justice on the content and implementation of a proposed standard to prevent and remove barriers to accessibility in the built environment.
Most committee members identify as having a disability, including those with visual, mobility, auditory and learning disabilities. Cranton has been in a wheelchair for 38 years.
“The accessibility committee was appointed by the Minister of Justice to work toward total accessibility in the build environment by 2030. It’s a committee of 19 people, and I’m proud to chair it. Due to my disability, I have a lot of interest in it.”
Cranton said any recommendations to the minister will not only help the disabled, but business owners as well.
“It’s much cheaper to include accessibility when you’re starting from the ground up,” he said. “If someone is building six or eight cottages, you don’t need to make them all accessible. There’s a ratio you go by. Hopefully, this won’t be a burden on business, but bring more people in their door.
“I would recommend anybody doing renovations to call us. We’d love to hear from anybody who wants to be more accessible. We can help, and there is some funding.”
In a press release from the province, Justice Minister Mark Furey said he has high hopes for the committee.
“The expertise of these individuals in the education and built-environment sectors will help ensure that our standards will provide equitable access to education and infrastructure throughout the province,” he said.
Also named to the committee was Gordie Snook, the general manager of facilities and operations for the Town of Port Hawkesbury.