Accessibility event an eye-opening experience in Wolfville
Many shops and restaurants in downtown Wolfville could use some upgrades to become wheelchair-friendly environments.
There are a few ramps, but they’re steep and paint can make them slippery when wet, noted Deputy Mayor Wendy Donovan.
Push button door openers are a rarity. Sandwich boards parked on the sidewalk can be a hazard for those using a white cane.
That is why Gerry Post, who heads the Accessibility Directorate in the Justice Department, visited Wolfville from Halifax Oct. 2 to help teach a class on downtown navigation.
Johanna Stork of the Halifax branch of the CNIB explained to town council members, staff and other volunteers that, among other changes, simply painting curb edges white is helpful for those with vision challenges.
Trisha Swan and Ben Marsden of Embracor Medical brought a truckload of wheelchairs for those who wanted to try moving along Main Street in a wheelchair. The Community Roll-About was aimed at increasing understanding.
It’s a fact the impacts of inaccessible design are invisible to most of us, especially in older communities, so it’s easy to make mistakes, Post says.
Nova Scotia, said Post, has one of the highest percentages of disabled citizens. It stands at 20 per cent, while the Canadian average is 14 per cent.
Wolfville is acting as a pilot in the creation of accessibility standards, which could affect everything from building construction to education and public transportation.
Recently a well-attended community consultation took place. Agnieszka Hayes chairs the town’s accessibility committee.
Late last month, Nova Scotia announced the next steps to reach its goal of making the province more accessible for those with disabilities by 2030.
Justice Minister Mark Furey released an implementation strategy for the province’s Accessibility Act, which passed last April.
For Post, the process is almost more important than the legisla-
was adjourned to Oct. 1 to allow time for a pre-sentence report to be prepared and for sentencing. Judge Ronda Van Der Hoek handed Elson a conditional discharge with 12 months of probation and fined him $100 in victim surcharges.
Elson committed the offence in New Minas on June 28. Charges of using a weapon – a piece of glass – in committing an assault and uttering a death threat were withdrawn on Oct. 1. tion and he points out transparency matters.
The province is already using the example of detailed standards already developed by the Rick Hansen Foundation. NSCC instructors have started teaching accessibility certification for the built environment.
He noted the business community is equally as important as government. Financial aid will be available to do more than just install ramps.
The government has initially invested $1.8 million to increase provincial accessibility grants for community buildings and to launch a grant program for small businesses to become more accessible.
Curative treatment discharge Gregory Cameron Lightfoot, 28, of New Minas, has been handed a curative treatment conditional discharge for operating a motor vehicle while his blood alcohol level exceeded the legal limit.
Lightfoot pleaded guilty to the charge in March and the Crown filed notice of increased penalty. The court imposed a two-year driving prohibition against Lightfoot, with eligibility for the ignition
Infrastructure funds will help municipalities with things like concrete curb cuts and hiring a diverse labour force.
Post calls the 12-member Accessibility Directorate the apostles of accessibility and says political support is strong. Cynthia Bruce of Kentville is the Valley representative.
Nova Scotia was the third prov-
interlock device program after six months. The matter was adjourned to allow time for a pre-sentence report to be prepared and for sentencing.
On Oct. 1, with the Crown’s consent, Judge Ronda Van Der Hoek granted Lightfoot a curative treatment conditional discharge with 12 months of probation. Lightfoot was fined $100 in victim surcharges.
Lightfoot committed the offence in New Minas on Nov. 25, 2017. The legal blood alcohol limit is 80 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood. Lightfoot gave breathalyser readings of 180 and 170.
John David Sogorka, 28, of Gaspereau, has been fined for operating a motor vehicle while his blood alcohol level exceeded the legal limit.
Sogorka was not present in provincial court on Oct. 4 but his defence lawyer, Philip Star, entered a guilty plea to the charge on Sogorka’s behalf. Judge Ronda Van Der Hoek fined Sogorka a total of $1,560 and imposed a one-year driving prohibition against him.
Sogorka committed the offence in Wolfville on Feb. 16. The legal blood alcohol limit is 80 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood. Sogorka gave breathalyser readings of 110 and 100.
Judy Ida Cromwell, 60, of Halifax, has been fined for operating a motor vehicle while her blood alcohol level exceeded the legal limit.
Cromwell was not present in provincial court on Oct. 4 but her defence lawyer, Philip Star, entered a guilty plea to the charge on Cromwell’s behalf. Judge Alan Tufts fined Cromwell a total of $1,495 and imposed a one-year driving prohibition against her.
Cromwell committed the offence in Wolfville on July 29. The legal blood alcohol limit is 80 mg of al- ince in Canada to pass accessibility legislation. Post is keen to work with many stakeholders to establish the province as a leader in this important area and he’s hearing interest from other provinces.
Prioritizing, he adds, means the easy fixes will happen first and the work will continue from there.
“There is a cost to being a just society,” he said. cohol in 100 ml of blood. Cromwell gave breathalyser readings of 130 and 120.
Suspended sentence Brandon Matthew Crewe, 36, of Canning, has been handed a suspended sentence with probation for committing mischief by willfully damaging a door to a value not exceeding $5,000; possessing a weapon for a purpose dangerous to the public peace and failing to comply with his undertaking.
Crewe changed his pleas to guilty to the charges on Dec. 21, 2017. The matters were adjourned to allow time for a pre-sentence report to be prepared and for sentencing. On Oct. 3, Judge Ronda Van Der Hoek handed Crewe a suspended sentence with 12 months of probation on the three charges.
Crewe committed the offences in Canning on July 11 and 12, 2017. Charges of carrying a weapon in committing an assault; two counts of uttering a death threat and a charge of engaging in conduct intended to provoke a state of fear in a justice system participant in order to impede the participant in the performance of his duties were dismissed on Oct. 3.
Assault, undertaking offence David George Draginda, 36, of West Glenmont, has been handed a conditional sentence for committing an assault and failing to comply with his undertaking.
Draginda pleaded guilty to the charges on Sept. 11 and the matters were adjourned to Oct. 3 for sentencing.
Judge Ronda Van Der Hoek handed Draginda a three-month conditional sentence on each of the charges, to be served concurrently. This three-month conditional sentence will be served consecutively to one from New Brunswick that he is currently serving.
Draginda committed the offences in West Glenmont on April 16.
Wolfville Coun. Oonagh Proudfoot, who is a member of the accessibility committee, wheels over a crosswalk under the watchful eye of Birgit Elssner.
Half of the Community Roll-About participants posed on the sidewalk in Wolfville. They included Gerry Post, left, Carl Oldham, Oonagh Proudfoot, Birgit Elssner, Ben Marsden and Jeremy Banks.