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July 31, 2018

The Game of Clue

Yesterday I took my power chair along the new Argyle Street when I saw this:

Here is some information that may help you decide whether the wheels of justice are working in this picture:

What you paid for the Argyle Street construction:

The upgrades for the Argyle District will take place on the blocks between Blowers Street and Prince Street, as well as Grafton Street between Prince and Carmichael Streets. The total cost is $6.8 million, but planners expect about $200,000 from the Nova Centre development.

The work involves removing the curbs, installing decorative pavers and widening the sidewalks to encourage a pedestrian-friendly zone.
Pam Berman · CBC News · Posted: Apr 26, 2016

The thank-you from the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia:

In our sector when we refer to the term “public” we are speaking about the general good for the largest number of people. This unfortunately does not include all people. There are many that we can’t serve for a variety of reasons, including; certain disabilities, people with various allergies, and some because there is an older building structure that can’t be renovated without substantial investment.

While we recognize that wheelchair accessibility is very important, it is just one element that restaurants must be aware of in extending the widest possible service to the public. 

Another factor to consider is that Nova Scotia has a substantial number of wheelchair accessible restaurants, ranging from fast food to fine dining. Certainly, people who require a wheelchair have restaurant choices and that choice is getting more diverse as our industry moves forward.

With low profit margins in the sector, these expenses could have major impacts, such as; business closures, loss of jobs, and loss of tax revenue. It is clear that our sector is being targeted through this hearing, with the two most prominent spoken words being (1) restaurants and (2) wheelchairs. It appears that we are being put under the microscope while other sectors get a pass and were not addressed even in a minor capacity.

Patios are regulated by municipal governments and they must conform to their set of rules and regulations. In Halifax they must be engineered and constructed to building code standards, which in some cases may not match accessible washrooms.
From a brief submitted in a human rights complaint
Re: Warren Reed et al v. Nova Scotia HRC File No. H16-1629


5. Sidewalk cafés shall comply with the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Accessible Design for the Built Environment, CSA Standard B651, as amended from time to time.

CSA B651 Accessible Design for the Built Environment

 4.3.2 Changes in level
Changes in level, except for elevators, elevating devices, and curb
ramps, shall comply with Table 1 (see Figure 4).

Table 1 Changes in level
(See Clauses 4.3.2 and 4.3.3.)

Vertical rise, mm         Profile
0–6                              May be vertical [Figure 4(a)]
7–13                            Bevelled, but not steeper than the ratio of 1:2 (50%) [Figure 4(b)]
Over 13                       Not steeper than the ratio of 1:12 (8.33%) [Figure 4(c)] 

13mm is about half an inch.  From the picture you can see that the step up to the patio is 20 times that.  Here are some possible  reasons for that disconnect:

  1. No one pays any attention to Council anyway
  2. Council didn't really mean CSA Standard B651, but possibly the standard for Donald Trump's wall.
  3. The building inspectors get confused between millimeters and inches
  4. The restaurant industry, with its own definition of "public" has the power to exclude anyone it wants.
  5. People with wheelchairs aren't real people anyway.

Draw your own conclusions.  Mine are:

  1. No one bothers to read any by-law because they're boring
  2. Some poor staffer Googled "accessible" and B651 came up first
  3. The building inspector exam doesn't cover that metric thing
  4. The restaurant industry gets confused between "wining and dining" and "whining and dining"
  5. People with wheelchairs are always pretending to be what they're not

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