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Accessibility committee wants more information on hotel proposal

Artists rendering of hotel on Dalhousie St.

The Amherstburg Accessibility Advisory Committee reviewed the site plan being proposed by Black Dog Entertainment for 256 Dalhousie St. and has requested more information.

The committee is seeking more information on doors and the swinging thereof to ensure they are fully accessible as part of their meeting last Wednesday night. New plans were requested with accessible doorways, swings and accessible paths of travel. The committee outlined several issues with doorways and the accessibility of them.

“I can’t support this the way it is,” said committee member Chris Drew, calling for more specifics.

Clerk Kevin Fox told the committee their primary role is to review it, and provide comment on exterior elements. Councillor Don McArthur, the council appointee to the committee, wanted to ensure as a new build that the proposed hotel would be up to current codes and wanted clarification if any regulations were grandfathered in. Fox said the developers need to meet all of the requirements of a new build.

Committee member Tony Pietrangelo wanted to know about an elevator, with Fox said is understanding there is one as well as some accessible suites. McArthur also wanted it confirmed there were no parking lot or accessible spaces shown is because there is currently no requirement to have one. Fox responded “correct” to McArthur’s questions.

Pietrangelo said what he was seeing at the meeting didn’t indicate doors were accessible, with Fox stating the Ontario Building Code will ensure the doors are accessible to get in. A permit could not be issued to occupy the building unless the doors are accessible, said Fox.

“I think we need to understand this is one mechanism of the process. It’s reviewed by the chief building official and it has to meet the requirements set out by the ministry,” said committee member Marc Renaud.

McArthur said, based on what was presented to council, there was an intention by the developer to have two accessible suites.

“I would encourage the committee to think about is there anything we can suggest to leverage what they have to make it more accessible?” said McArthur.

The building will be up to code because it’s the law and hoped the applicant will elaborate on what they plan to promote accessibility.

Drew said he didn’t want it to appear the committee “rubber stamped” anything and wanted more information.

Linda Saxon said she came before the committee on behalf of herself, the Amherstburg Residents Forum and “other residents that have approached me with their concerns.” Her appearance was before the committee debated the site plan.

Saxon said questions she posed about one year ago have not been answered. She added she is not sure why the committee is reviewing the site plan, noting it is due to come before an Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) hearing later this year.

Accessibility committee wants more information on hotel proposal

By Ron Giofu

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