MEETING PREVIEW: Accessibility Advisory Committee for April 18, 2023

After taking a scheduled month off, the Accessibility Advisory Committee gets back to business with their regular meeting, and the agenda will cover matters coming in the immediate future and the sort of far future. Feedback will be sought about a permanent patio policy, accessibility of playground equipment, traffic calming, community engagement and the 2026 municipal election. Once again, there’s a lot to cram in to the two hour running time. 

NOTE #1: This meeting will take place in Meeting Room B at City Hall, but you can also watch it on video via Microsoft Teams. (Find the link on the meeting agenda.)

NOTE #2: The meeting begins at 3 pm and is expected to wrap up around 5 pm.

AAC engagement on research for voting methods and accessible voting service enhancements for the 2026 Municipal Election – This represents the first of many “touch points” on this subject through 2023. In doing this work, committee will assist staff in looking at methods used in last year’s election like mail-in voting or the Vote from Home program, and will also look at new opportunities like internet voting, vote by phone, and something called “remote accessible vote by mail.” 

Additionally, they will be asked about enhancing current accessibility measures like the provision of braille sleeves (which arrived too late for the last election), magnifying sheets, and making City Hall a one-stop polling place for everyone with an accessibility issue. Members of the AAC are being asked to fill out a survey that will give the clerks’ office some direction to start with.

Playground rubber surface strategy in the Parks and Recreation Master Plan (PRMP) – As you may know, the City of Guelph is developing a new Parks and Recreation Master Plan, and you may also be aware that the installation of rubber surfaces on playground equipment is a commonly accepted best practice to create more accessible play for all kids. 

In terms of the master plan, Parks staff are developing some regulations around the park selection and installation for rubber surfaces, but in the meantime they’ve also identified some gaps in the system, two areas of the city that are not within 2.5 kilometres of a park with a rubber surface under the playground equipment. Staff are recommending a motion to sometime in the next 10 years convert the University Village Park and a park to be named later in the northwest end of the city into a playground with a rubber surface. 

Consultation with the AAC will continue and the draft master plan is expected to come to council sometime in the fourth quarter of this year.

Guelph’s Seasonal Patio Program – The 2023 patio program officially began on April 1, though it may still be a few weeks before you see some patios open. As for the AAC, with the regulations for a more permanent program coming to council this July, they’re being asked for feedback about accessibility concerns. The staff presentation notes that parking concerns are already being examined in their deliberations, and they also have an accessibility checklist when inspecting patios that includes accessible routes, parking, seating, ramps and fencing.

Promise and Design Principles of the Community Engagement Framework – “The City believes community engagement leads to better decisions that help the community realize its vision for an inclusive, connected, prosperous city where we look after each other and our environment.” That’s a promise that staff want to make to the AAC when it comes to improving community engagement. 

In advance of the new framework coming back to Committee of the Whole in June, staff need AAC to comment on the needs and experience of people with disabilities when it comes to community engagement, the barriers to participation, and how to offer more opportunities to meeting people where they are. The committee will also be asked about their comments on the promise, and and whether the current design principles in their framework meet their needs and concerns.

Traffic Calming Policy Memo – Engineering and Transportation Services oversee the development and implementation of the Traffic Calming Policy. In the past, the AAC have expressed concerns about speed bumps: going over them can be painful for someone with a physical disability, and since many people with a physical disability are using a mobility transportation service, they don’t get a say on what route is taken and they might encounter speed bumps without their say. Staff’s memo notes that they’re aware of these concerns and they will be taken into account as they look to revamp the policy in 2025, at which point there will be a formal engagement with the AAC.

Site Plan Internal Review Report and New Legislation Impacts – Essentially, this was the review of the changes to Bill 23 and how they affect matters of accessibility, but time ran out at the February meeting to have this brief discussion, so it’s now deferred to this meeting instead.

Future Topics:

  • Trail Curb Cut Standard
  • Vehicle for Hire Program
  • Solid Waste Single Use Plastic Straws – 5 Recommendations Follow Up
  • Parking Study
  • Transit Update/Standing Order List/Bus Stop Design


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