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July 31, 2012

Chicken Burghers

Just the facts
  • I love Chickenburgers
  • There is a new Chickenburger on Queen Street.
  • Wheelchair users can't get up the steps
  • I'm giving up Chickenburgers and I'm asking you to, too, by taking a pledge on Facebook
Background

  • Mickey MacDonald, owner of Chickenburger and indisputably civic minded person says
    • I appreciate and applaud your convictions to help the city be more accessible, kudos to you. As far as the ChickenBurger on Queen St. you must realize that the building was built in the late 1800 or early 1900's and it definitely wasn't built for accessibility. In saying that we did make the takeout assessable but the construction cost to make the inside accessible were to cost prohibitive, it basically would have required us to tear the building down. It wasn't just the cost of building a ramp but also the inside is very confined and would not be conducive to wheel chair movement. Like most old buildings in the city they unfortunately weren't build with the thought of helping or making them accessible to people with disabilities. I hope this answers your questions and if you have any other questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.
  • Of course Mr. MacDonald does not seem to connect accessibility with the notion of having more paying customers, nor does he seem to understand that his business permit is issued by all Haligonians, not just those who can walk.
  • Brad Anguish,   PEng, PMP, MBA, Director, Community & Recreation Services says
    • I have inquired with our Building Officials in the Permits and Inspections Division regarding your inquiry of the accessibility issues within the recently constructed Chickenburger restaurant at Queen Street in Halifax. I am advised that staff raised the issues of barrier fee accessibility at the time Mr MacDonald (MICCO) applied for a Permit and at several points during construction.  Staff have  informed me that there are in fact provisions within the Building Code Regulations that make applicability of the full scope barrier free component in a renovated facility, such as the case with this file, unclear.
    • I wish to reassure you that our building inspection staff are very sensitive to the importance of the Barrier Free provisions of the Nova Scotia Building Code and strive to ensure we maintain full compliance throughout the city as it develops. To that end, staff have been working closely with the property owner to find a solution.  It is my understanding at this time that a potential solution has been created and implementation planning is under way by the developer.
    • I have copied HRM's Manager of Municipal Compliance, Jim Donovan, on my reply.  Jim is very knowledgeable in these matters.  Should you have any further questions/concerns, Jim can be reached at 902.490.6224.
    • Thank you for your patience in this matter.
  • Mr. Anguish has not shared the exact provision of the building code which he finds ambiguous, despite direct questioning on that point.
  • I haven't heard from Mr. Donovan
  • I have no direct knowledge of any planned changes at Chickenburger
  • My taxes and yours paid the tab for these services at Chickenburger, among many others:
    • Fire and Police Protection
    • Snow Plowing
    • Delivery of customers through public transport
    • Mr. Anguish's salary
  • There are dozens of businesses like this in HRM
    • Jane's on the Common
    • Jennifer's of Nova Scotia
    • Starbuck's on Queen (lift broken for over a year)
    • Every business in Hydrostone Market
    • Fid
    • Moda
    • Many businesses on Spring Garden, Barrington and Quinpool
  • Not just my taste buds are offended.  By allowing inaccessible business to operate, HRM condones employment discrimination.  A wheelchair user who can't get in to Fid can't work there, can't earn a salary, can't pay taxes.  Canadians long ago learned that it is bad business to discriminate on the basis of race, gender religion or national origin.  HRM is tacitly enabling discrimination against taxpayers with disabilities through many by-laws and regulations, which sorely need review.
    • Article 9, Section 1 of the UN Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities to which Canada is a signatory, says 
      • To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. These measures, which shall include the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility, shall apply to, inter alia: 
        • Buildings, roads, transportation and other indoor and outdoor facilities, including schools, housing, medical facilities and workplaces;
    • Demonstrably, this is not the case in HRM.   Barriers are not being removed, and in fact they are perpetuated and increased.  
  • Check out the articles in The Coast and in Contrarian
Gus Reed - wcreedh@gmail.com

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