Sarnia This Week: Year In Review


Postmedia Staff
Published on: January 16, 2020

A new, accessible playground, the first of its kind in Sarnia, opened at Canatara Park in early December.

More than a playground, the wheelchair-accessible play structure atop a poured-in-place rubber base, also features nearby benches with built-in games tables, a stage area for theatre beside the existing picnic pavilion, and exercise equipment.

“We just wanted to create a space that, whether you’re playing or a caregiver here to watch their kids play, there’s something to do,” said city recreation and planning manager Ryan Chamney.

The project cost roughly $335,000, and was partly funded with $80,000 and $90,000 in total from all three of Sarnia’s Rotary clubs.

“We got a lot for what we spent,” said Chamney.

The Canatara Park ” Rotary Clubs of Sarnia Accessible Playground and Community Hub project is step one of nine in accessibility upgrades eyed for playgrounds in various city parks, he said.

Tecumseh Park is up next. Work is planned to start there later in 2020 and likely wrap up in 2021, Chamney said.

The Sarnia-Lambton Centre Communautaire Francophone unveiled its newly upgraded kitchen facilities on Dec. 6, a project completed thanks to a $133,500 capital grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey joined community centre staff, contractors and a contingent of students from the neighbouring St. Francois Xavier Secondary School to formally open the kitchen during a launch-and-lunch recognition ceremony.

The centre’s newly refurbished and enlarged kitchen, which includes a brand new stove, a state of the art dishwashing station, new cabinets and a special range hood designed to address air circulation issues, will allow far more people to access the wide variety of cooking classes offered at the centre, said community centre president Tanya Tamilio.

After the grant was approved, local contractors got to work in order to make the facility much more accessible for teaching purposes and more amenable for hosting larger community events such as holiday celebrations, baby showers or weddings, Tamilio said.

“Our old kitchen was more of a residential-type kitchen, so we couldn’t really do cooking courses in there ” we had to bring in tables and put them outside of the kitchen just to hold classes,” she said. “This permits everyone to be back inside the kitchen.”

Whether the new kitchen’s users are St. Francois Xavier students simply learning how to make healthy after-school snacks or new mothers learning the ABCs of cooking for their newborns, the refurbished kitchen will definitely serve many needs within Sarnia-Lambton, Tamilio said.

In December, it was announced that transportation company Voyago had been selected for an intercity bus service contract between Sarnia, Strathroy-Caradoc and London which was set to begin in April 2020.

The service, completely funded until 2023 through a $1.45-million Ontario Community Transportation grant, is set to run three round trips daily, five days a week ” and two round trips per day on weekends ” using accessible 20-foot buses with 20 to 25 seats.

The London-founded bus company formerly known as Voyageur ” acquired by Transdev Canada in April” beat out about five other bidders for the route that will also include stops in Komoka and Mt. Brydges.

“It came down to I’d say a combination of experience, and then, within the budget, getting as many round trips as possible at the times we think the service will be utilized,” Makrakos said about Voyago’s selection.

Original at https://www.sarniathisweek.com/news/local-news/year-in-review-december-3




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Sarnia Facing Human Rights Complaint


Tyler Kula
Updated: October 10, 2018

The City of Sarnia is embroiled in a Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario case after a resident filed a complaint over an alleged lack of accessibility at city hall.

“I wrote a letter to the mayor and council last February complaining about the washroom on the main floor of city hall. It wasn’t accessible,” said Sandi Compagnion, who uses a wheelchair.

She was questioning one of the local candidates for mayor at a municipal election debate Tuesday.

“I couldn’t get in and I couldn’t open the door,” she said. “I had to have someone come and open the door for me, hold the door so I could get in. Then they had to wait outside while I went to the bathroom to let me out.

“That was pretty demeaning and humiliating.”

Compagnion said she was told by city CAO Marg Misek-Evans and Brian White, council representative on the accessibility committee, they’d look into whether funding was available for accessibility upgrades,

“Well, eight months later, after I filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, guess what? They’re having power doors in that washroom as of Oct. 11,” Compagnion said.

A report this month from accessibility co-ordinator Dale Mosley said $20,000 to upgrade the washroom door and several entrances to the building was made available after plans for accessibility improvements at the Sarnia Library were postponed, amid no bids from contractors.

Compagnion declined to specify when she filed her complaint, as the case is still before the tribunal, but Jim Crawford, Sarnia’s manager of human resources, said the complaint was registered in May.

The door upgrades should be done this week or next, he said, and a summary hearing at the tribunal is scheduled for February.

“I’d love to resolve it beforehand, but that unfortunately is not in our purview,” he said. “It has to do with whatever the complainant wants to do.”

Compagnion’s accessibility complaint extends to other aspects of city hall, he said, but wouldn’t specify because of the ongoing case.

But the human rights complaint didn’t influence the city’s decision to add power doors at city hall, he said.

“There was no direct relation.”

Money had already been slotted for improvements at the library and the accessibility committee’s original decision was to stick with that approach, he said.

The lack of bids for the library work changed things, he said, adding city hall is “fully compliant with the Ontario Building Code and any other legislation dealing with accessibility issues,” including the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

White said he presented Compagnion’s concerns to the committee immediately and invited her to speak to the committee twice. She declined, he said.

Original at https://windsorstar.com/news/local-news/sarnia-facing-human-rights-complaint/wcm/2fd29f7b-be76-45fa-873a-9d0f2ae65996



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