I am writing to express my disappointment with the recent decision made by the Sidney mayor and a member of council to refuse referring the Active Transportation Plan to the town’s accessibility advisory committee. As a resident of the Saanich Peninsula and an advocate for accessibility, I believe this decision is a step backward for the community.
The accessibility advisory committee is one of two provincially mandated advisory bodies, the other being the board of variance under the Local Government Act. The committee’s role is to provide advice to local governments on issues affecting persons with disabilities.
Despite this mandate, the mayor and at least one member of council seem to view the committee as a recreational or social organization, as evidenced by their comments and reluctance to refer the plan to the committee. While the committee did provide a response to the plan, the town’s timeline and ignorance of the committee’s schedule meant that no minutes were taken of the meeting of the municipal committee.
This decision is particularly concerning given that the Active Transportation Plan includes numerous barriers to access for seniors and people with disabilities. As a community, we should be working towards creating a more accessible and inclusive environment for all residents.
I urge the mayor and council to reconsider their decision and to work collaboratively with the accessibility advisory committee to ensure that the needs of all residents, including those with disabilities, are taken into account in future planning decisions.