• John Jantak

Vaudreuil-Dorion adopts action plan for disabled persons


PHOTO COURTESY SHUTTERSTOCK

Vaudreuil-Dorion adopted its Disability Action Plan for 2019 during its municipal council meeting on June 17. This measure is being implemented in accordance with the provincial act to ensure the rights of persons with disabilities for their integration into school, work and society. Municipal employee Caroline Houde has been tasked with making sure accessibility and services for the disabled keeps increasing within the city.

The document lists concrete actions the city will take to make sure the participation of its citizens with disabilities continues to rise in several sectors.

“Every year we have to check to see if everything that was going to be done was done and to maintain contact with the various handicapped associations,” Mayor Guy Pilon told The Journal during a telephone interview on June 20.

Streamlining parks

One of the city’s initiatives has been to streamline its network of parks to make sure the various activities are accessible to disabled people. “We’ve been creating cement pathways to allow disabled people in wheelchairs have accessibility to the various activities in our playgrounds such as the swings and other activities,” said Pilon.

“We’ve been doing this for a while and now every department, especially our recreation and urbanism departments, are making the necessary changes to make sure we can accommodate people with physical handicaps into our venues,” said Pilon.

Employment opportunities

Among other initiatives aimed at enabling the disabled to participate in daily life, the city has been advising the SDEM SEMO (Service d’aide à l’emploi et de placement en entreprises pour personnes handicapées) Montérégie, a regional organization dedicated to finding employment for people with disabilities, of job opportunities that become available. The city also rents specially adapted chemical toilets during its annual repertoire of outdoor events.

The establishment of a library of taped council meetings which are available online on the city’s website also helps give the disabled the opportunity to participate in local politics. It allows people with reduced mobility to be informed of the political goings-on in the municipality without having to attend council meetings, said Pilon.

Accommodating the disabled

The city’s commitment to its disabled population will also extend to the construction of its new civic centre which will include its new city hall, library and indoor swimming.

“Everything will done to accommodate handicapped persons,” said Pilon

The mayor credits the positive working environment established in the past three years by the city and the various associations mandated to help the disabled with creating a new positive infrastructure. Together, they are dedicated to helping ease the isolation the disabled face and encouraging them to participate in activities as much as possible.

Compelling businesses to comply

While private businesses aren’t obliged to provide access to disabled persons, Pilon said the city is enforcing its urbanistic regulations get new businesses to conform to it policies.

“We’re using our urban laws to make sure when something is built or being renewed that access has to be given to handicapped persons. They have to do it if they want to have their permit,” said Pilon.

The city has already seen to it that all new residential developments are built with ease of access for the disabled in mind by making sure sidewalks have slopes at each corner for wheelchairs.

“This isn’t only for handicapped people,” Pilon said. “Imagine if you have a baby stroller. This is useful for everyone.”

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