The Telegram (St. John's)

Thanks for focusing on inclusion issues


Kudos to The Telegram’s Ashley Fitzpatric­k and Louis Power and disability activist Jonathon Pittman for the newspaper’s “Inclusion Now” series, and kudos to The Telegram’s Steve Bartlett, Ashley Fitzpatric­k, Beth Penney and Louis Power, and panellists Paul Walsh, COD-NL; Kathy Hawkins, Inclusion NL; and Pittman for holding the July 5th accessibil­ity and inclusion public forum at Easter Seals House in St. John’s (“Let’s start a movement, # Inclusion Now,” The Telegram, July 6.)

It was good to see stakeholde­rs in attendance, including St. John’s Deputy Mayor Ron Ellsworth, St. John’s Coun. Danny Breen, St. John’s municipal candidate Maggie Burton, Independen­t Mount Pearl South MHA Paul Lane, Newfoundla­nd and Labrador’s Disability Policy Office director Mary Reid and Empower Disability Resource Centre’s executive director Kimberley Yetman Dawson.

I am glad I attended this important Telegram-sponsored town hall meeting, where people discussed how to make society more accessible for persons with disabiliti­es. I got up and spoke about the need for Metrobus to provide accessible washrooms in enclosed sheltered facilities near all the major bus or transit stops in St. John’s and Mount Pearl — the Village Shopping Centre, Avalon Mall, Stravanger Drive shopping area, St. John’s Convention Centre and other locations — as there are Metrobus users who have inflammato­ry bowel disease (Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis), colon cancer, ostomies (colostomie­s, ileostomie­s and urostomies), incontinen­ce issues, irritable bowel syndrome, and people who are recovering from shortterm gastroente­ritis; people with mobility issues due to arthritis, multiple sclerosis or injury or other medical conditions, and even people without any disability who would benefit from convenient and accessible washroom facilities. That way, people wouldn’t have to go far and possibly miss their transfer.

Go to our country’s major airports, including St. John’s Internatio­nal Airport, our country’s train stations and bus terminals and major light rail train, bus and subway stations and you will find washrooms. And, I am sure most, if not all, of these washrooms are wheelchair accessible.

This is one area where the metro St. John’s area can promote and practice inclusion, especially with the travelling public.

Edward Sawdon St. John’s

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