• John Jantak

Pincourt’s first public consultation on improving lives of the handicapped draws many suggestions


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Nicolas Demurtas, Inspector and Prevention Technician for the Pincourt Emergency and Fire Protection Department; Councillor Denise Bergeron; Célia Corriveau, Division Chief responsible for Pincourt’s Cultural and Social Development Policy; and Councillor Claudine Girouard-Morel at the town’s first public consultation meeting regarding developing an action plan to assist handicapped citizens as part of its social development policy that was held at the Omni-Centre on Tuesday, June 5.

About 30 residents and municipal employees participated in Pincourt’s first ever public consultation to develop an action plan as part of its social development policy that aims to continue improving the quality of life for its handicapped citizens. The meeting took place at the Omni-Centre on Tuesday, June 5.

Mayor Yvan Cardinal said handicapped people are an integral part of the municipality’s diverse population and the town is committed to upgrading its infrastructure to provide easier accessibility to all residents. He was pleased with the turnout and the suggestions that were made on how the town can continue improving its infrastructure to meet the needs of the handicapped.

Forefront of improvement

With a population of over 15,000 residents, the town is obliged under provincial law to provide easier access to all its facilities to handicapped individuals. Pincourt has already been at the forefront of improving the lives of all its citizens when it adopted its social development policy in 2013. Its new action plan will also help the town to receive provincial subsidies for its new projects, said Cardinal.

In March, Vaudreuil-Soulanges MP Peter Schiefke provided a $12,984 federal grant to Pincourt to improve access to city hall for people with disabilities and to build an adapted washroom. Schiefke also congratulated Cardinal and the town for its consistent efforts to enhance the lives of its residents.

“We thank everyone who is here. I hope these people will become our ambassadors and get more people involved. If someone wasn’t able to be here tonight, they just have to call the town and let us know what we can do for them,” said Cardinal

Emergency directory registration

The town is in the process of compiling a directory of individuals with disabilities to facilitate responses in the event of emergencies, said Nicolas Demurtas, Inspector and Prevention Technician for the Pincourt Emergency and Fire Protection Department.

“It’s important to know if there are people who may have a specific problem. If we have this information, we can give it to the 9-1-1 central emergency dispatch service. When there is an emergency, the central 9-1-1 service will inform us at the beginning of the emergency response. We will receive complete information about the specific problems at the address we are heading to,” Demurtas told The Journal.

“This information will be kept totally confidential and help us to provide better services to our citizens. This way, if there’s an emergency situation, the first responders will already know there is a handicapped person at the address,” Demurtas added.

Parking complaints

Other issues discussed during the two-hour meeting included adding toilets for special needs people and lowering the height of sidewalks at parks, and reviewing the policy on integrating handicapped children in the day camp and child care services.

The biggest issue revolved around people without disabilities who park in reserved handicapped spots, said Célia Corriveau, Division Chief responsible for the town’s Cultural and Social Development Policy.

“People proposed a lot of good solutions about things we can do to try to sensitize the population about this situation. One person suggested that we give out false tickets to try to make people aware of the problem,” said Corriveau.

“I’m really happy with the meeting. The people told us some original things about what they need. With all the notes I took this evening, I think I’ll be able to prepare a real good action plan for the next three years. I really feel confident because of the comments I received from all the people who participated tonight,” said Corriveau.

More information about Pincourt’s action plan for the handicapped is available on the town’s website at www.villepincourt.qc.ca/en/145/people-with-disabilities.

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