News 06:55 AM by Shane MacDonald
Rick Winson, a member of the town of Innisfil’s Accessibility Advisory Committee, said the town is becoming more proactive when it comes to accessible buildings. June 13, 2019.
Rick Winson looks over the town’s building plans for accessibility challenges. In his own home, he has designed all kinds of accessible features. June 13, 2019.
Two decades ago, Rick Winson never thought twice about the challenges people with disabilities face; now, it’s all he thinks about.
Winson, a member of the Town of Innisfil’s accessibility advisory committee, found himself facing those accessibility challenges after a snowmobile accident in 2001.
The accessibility committee interested him, and he hasn’t looked back.
“The goal of the committee is to make Innisfil as accessible as we possibly can,” he said.
He said the town is doing well and getting better when it comes to accessibility. He noted accessible features are being built in more and more, even before he gets the chance to review building plans.
“It took the first five years before we were given the opportunity to look at every single set of plans that came up,” he said of the change since the committee was struck. “I’m sort of a formality now; there is already somebody there that is looking at these things under a microscope.”
They still catch some instances where accessibility can be better. He said builders stick to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) standards, despite the opportunity for greater accessibility, so the committee is looking to tweak those standards and adopt them as a town bylaw.
“So when somebody wants to come and build here, they have to build by our standards no matter what the AODA says at the time,” he said. “That’s going to be a huge leap forward.”
He’s not sure the town, or many municipalities, will meet the AODA’s goals by the set 2025 date.
“There hasn’t been any enforcement,” he noted.