PORT HAWKESBURY: Providing advice to council on identifying, preventing and eliminating barriers to people with disabilities in municipal programs, services, initiatives and facilities, Port Hawkesbury will soon establish its own accessibility committee.

The committee would play a pivotal role in helping the Town of Port Hawkesbury become a barrier-free community and ensuring obligations under An Act Respecting Accessibility in Nova Scotia are met.

During the town’s monthly regular council meeting on January 7, councillors were presented a draft of the terms of reference for the new accessibility committee.

Following the meeting, mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton said town council’s recommendation is for people living with disabilities to sit as members of the committee.

“They’re looking at the town through a specific lens,” she said. “We want them to help us identify where change is needed, to identify some barriers that we would need to amend or overcome, to apply that knowledge and skill set, and to look at the way our town functions.”

In addition to advising and making recommendations to council concerning accessibility matters in the town, the committee will also gather information on best practices pertaining to the accessibility needs of the citizens living, working and visiting the town.

The committee will provide a forum to hear and consider representation from any individual, organization or delegation of residents with respect to accessibility and will educate citizens on the Nova Scotia Accessibility Act and local accessibility concerns.

The deadline to strike the accessibility committee is in April.