Richmond approves accessibility plan draft

ARICHAT: Richmond County has approved a draft accessibility plan.

Warden Amanda Mombourquette told the April 25 regular monthly meeting of Richmond Municipal Council that the Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee was mandated to implement accessibility plans for the municipality, as well as the Village of St. Peter’s.

The warden said the plan was put together thanks to research, community engagement, and committee discussions, as well as a series of site assessments.

“I have to say that there was some really fantastic feedback from the public, and 147 community members engaged in the formation of that plan,” she told council. “The majority of the members of the committee are supportive of the plans that have been developed.”

In response to a question from Deputy Warden Melanie Sampson if there were any concerns with the plan, Mombourquette said she hasn’t heard any.

“We’ve had that discussion through email, etc. I haven’t really picked up any concerns from any committee members. They’ve been extremely involved in the writing of the report,” she replied.

After it was approved, the warden thanked those who helped make it happen.

“I feel like a great weight has been lifted off our shoulders,” she stated. “It was a wonderful piece of work. Thank you to all the committee members and all the members of the community who worked so hard on it. It’s been a fantastic process and it’s nice to see it brought to an end. I’ll be looking forward to corresponding with the minister about that.”

Also during last week’s meeting, council approved a recommendation from the committee of the whole to appoint Esther MacDonnell to the Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee.

Calling the plan “high quality,” Mombourquette said it contains specific and achievable actions.

“We took a broad approach to this, whereas a lot of municipalities really focused on municipal infrastructure; if it’s a municipal asset then we will include it in our plan. We took a much broader approach, and we looked at all of the things that impact accessibility in our community, and then what’s our role,” she explained.

The warden added the committee has worked “so, so hard,” meeting frequently over the last year-plus to get the plan together.

“We have been feeling the pressure of an April deadline on our accessibility plans, as required by the province. We’re sliding in a little bit late but before the end of this month, I’ll be so happy to be able to tell the minister and provincial government that, ‘yes we have an accessibility plan that’s been approved by council, and formulated by the people of Richmond County with lived experience.”