Public Consultations on Accessibility

In the second half of 2020, one of the things that Council did was to focus on Accessibility with several actions including hiring an Accessibility Coordinator (Jamie Kramer) on a full-time contract.  Jamie’s goal is to create the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion strategy for the Town of Cobourg.  So far she has helped setup an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee and secured a Provincial Grant of $60K to help with her work.  And it’s not just disabled people that are being “included”; the list is long: Black, Indigenous and People of Colour, women, people with disabilities, newcomers to Canada, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Two-Spirit, Intersex, and Asexual peoples, as well as those who identify as pansexual, questioning, non-binary, and other gender and sexual minorities (2SLGBTQIAP+) community and other visible minorities.

Jamie Kramer
Jamie Kramer

In an earlier memo to Council, Jamie said that “The 2016 Census shows us that 4.4% of the population in Cobourg identifies as a Racialized Person (Visible Minority) and 2.3% of the population identifies as an Indigenous Person (Aboriginal).” She did not have statistics for the other groups.

In January 2021, Cobourg joined the Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities (see link below).

There are multiple Canadian Laws requiring EDI (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion):

Why do we care?

As Jamie puts it:

Canada along with its provinces and territories has an exceptional system of human rights laws and ratified international treaties. Nevertheless, as in other parts of the world, racism and discrimination continue to raise barriers against the development of individuals and groups. Racism and discrimination divide communities, pose a serious threat to peaceful coexistence and exchange among and within communities, imperil democratic and participatory citizenship, and entrench and aggravate inequalities within society. Racism and discrimination continue to perpetuate the historical disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal peoples and other diverse groups, many of whom are members of Canada’s most economically and socially marginalized communities.

The Town currently has a 54 page Multi-Year Accessibility Plan for 2016 to 2019 (see link below) but a new one is needed for the years 2020 – 2024.

Jamie’s next step is to consult the public to find out what they “would like to be included as part of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Strategy”.  At the next Committee of the Whole meeting on 21 June, Jamie will be asking Council to approve these public sessions on Zoom:

  • Tuesday, July 20th, 2021 at 7:00 pm until 9:00 pm;
  • Thursday, July 22nd, 2021 at 3:00 pm until 5:00 pm;
  • Saturday, July 24th, 2021 at 1:00 pm until 3:00 pm.

There would also be an online survey on EngageCobourg.

Links

Addendum

The survey on Engage Cobourg is now online  – link to all surveys here – and the  (virtual via Zoom) Town Hall meetings are now scheduled for 3 days in August.  Details at Public Town Hall page here.

Print Article: 

 

66 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Frenchy
20 June 2021 6:49 am
MCGA
18 June 2021 7:44 am

My professional training has always focused on fixing problems as they become known. In this circumstance I am wondering if those individuals or groups, who have issues with any of these varied aspects of accessibility in Cobourg specific, have already raised them to either their elected officials or Town staff. We can create paradigms before we actually have facts. This then begs the questions: If we have not heard (at Council, Town Staff, media, civic groups, etc.) of an issue or issues with accessibility in our Town are we now searching for a problem that is not actually there? And, at the point of being branded a heretic, if there are no discernable problems in our jurisdiction, what purpose does a strategy to fix them serve?

Concerned
Reply to  MCGA
18 June 2021 8:26 am

Or sometimes it’s a legal requirement ever thought of that!

MCGA
Reply to  Concerned
18 June 2021 8:51 am

Is it a legal requirement for Cobourg? Which jurisdiction imposes it? Does that jurisdiction establish all parameters? Does that jurisdiction fund the process? If no to the preceding questions, then is this process ad hoc?

concerned
Reply to  MCGA
18 June 2021 8:58 am

It’s a legal requirement set out by the province and the federal government. Come on your ex-military you know a lot of the stuff we did was mandated. Yes the legislative documents do set out the requirements.

concerned
Reply to  concerned
18 June 2021 9:13 am

If you read some of the documents above that John provided you will see it is a legal requirement for all municipalities. Instead of being part of the problem be part time f the solution. I would expect more from a former officer!

MCGA
Reply to  concerned
18 June 2021 9:47 am

Apologies for asking the questions rather than reading the documentation. That said, I know there are differences between levels of mandate; some firm and concrete, others advisory or recommended. Even in the military there was a difference between a suggestion and an order. There also was the option for theatre command to improvise. And, as I always thought should have happened in Vietnam, simply declare victory and leave.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  MCGA
18 June 2021 5:21 pm

This Vietnam vet would like to see the rationale for your statement.

Last edited 4 months ago by Bill Thompson
MCGA
Reply to  Bill Thompson
18 June 2021 9:46 pm

This Vietnam vet, and intelligence specialist, believes history proves the rationale of the point. Supporting an unpopular regime against an enemy that enjoyed popular support and was willing to sacrifice over a million in the fight for what they interpreted as independence was unwinnable. Insurgencies win the long game, look at the US revolution as but one other example.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  MCGA
18 June 2021 10:40 pm

Welcome home . 👍
I definitely agree with the concept that theatre command on the ground should be the best option.Unfortunately if you recall,,the battlefield decisions were made by the White House by Johnson.
Politics /politicians will never change and we just have to observe both U.S. and Canada to see what passes for leadership.today.

Incidentally if you haven’t read the book Black April The Fall of South Vietnam by George J. Veith in 2012,a former Army Captain ,I highly recommend it.

I’m getting away from the actual theme of this blog so I’ll let it go at that , but really haven’t even scratched the subject.

Last edited 4 months ago by Bill Thompson
Bryan
Reply to  Concerned
18 June 2021 11:20 pm

Concerned:
Please clarify;
A legal requirement to do what exactly?
Fix problems that don’t exist as MCGA suggests?

The statutes provide a policy/operational framework and remedies to resolve/mitigate problems within the framework context. There are some accessibility and inclusion issues in Cobourg to be sure. Let’s work to identify and fix those if we have the jurisdiction and resources to do so.
What is not needed are broad brush solutions that seek to fix all conceivable problems, thereby becoming solutions in search of problems.
Focus on what’s broken and fix it.

Last edited 4 months ago by Bryan
Concerned
Reply to  Bryan
22 June 2021 2:05 pm

Isn’t that why they are doing consultation with the public? Why be afraid of updating the policy? Let them do their work.

Kevin
Reply to  MCGA
18 June 2021 8:57 pm

There is a problem, or at least was, with the Wheels transportation service. I do not know all the details but I have spoken to people that are not impressed with the service and have ideas on how to improve it. Since this is transportation related and we have a transportation advisory committee that would seem to be the reasonable way to solve the problems. Maybe Jamie Kramer will help solve the Wheels problems if somebody lets her know.

MCGA
Reply to  Kevin
18 June 2021 9:57 pm

In a sense Kevin, you are making my point. Wheel transport was a known and discussed issue. Even a local cab company was willing to make additional capital acquisitions but, in the end, the compensation offered was not enough for him to participate. That issue was the domain of transportation and really did not demand an elaborate accessibility strategy.

Gerald Childs
17 June 2021 1:58 pm

As of June 17, 1:50 pm, I find it interesting that those profiles using common first names appear to be male. I would suggest the majority of those who have commented here are also white and are straight. Where are the comments from those who do not identify as straight, white, hetero-male? Without Prejudice.

Concerned
Reply to  Gerald Childs
17 June 2021 2:07 pm

Why would they? So they could be attacked with no support? They comments just show dislike for those communities.

Matt
Reply to  Gerald Childs
18 June 2021 7:42 am

It’s an indication that this forum reflects an image of Cobourg public opinion that is much narrower in scope than many of it’s regular contributors would like to admit.

I know it may be hard to believe, but all of Cobourg isn’t living and dying over what’s being said in the comment section of this blog.

concerned
Reply to  Matt
18 June 2021 9:04 am

Unfortunately two or three of our councillors make their decisions based on this blog and Facebook.

Matt
Reply to  concerned
18 June 2021 9:58 am

You’re not wrong. That’s why those of us who are tired of that type of government should do everything we can to make the upcoming election a referendum on it.

Kevin
17 June 2021 7:25 am

So, we have a plan for accessibility but we need a new one because the existing one only goes to 2019. What happens if we change the expiry date on the old plan? In Canada we have laws that protect all the minorities listed from discrimination. Those laws need to be enforced. Will that be the purpose of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee? I can understand why a person with disabilities benefits by infrastructure design. In Cobourg we have a Transportation Master Plan (TMP) and a Transportation Advisory Committee. The dates for multi-use paths and bike lanes in the TMP have not been met. Matthew street was rebuilt with sidewalks and now it is too narrow for the regular snowplow. I have spoken to people needing wheelchairs that do not like sidewalks because they can be a pain in the back, quite literally. More committee is a way to spend more tax money and create more public jobs.

JimT
Reply to  Kevin
17 June 2021 8:24 am

Well, Mathew St., actually – just one “t”, and it’s always had sidewalks on both sides, rebuild or not.

If people in wheelchairs don’t like sidewalks, what do they prefer?

Bryan
Reply to  JimT
17 June 2021 9:12 am

JimT
Seniors using wheelchairs, walkers, canes or no aids, prefer the road. It is safer. During the winter the roads are mostly ice free, reasonably smooth and have grit for traction. The same can not be said for the sidewalks. The sidewalks also heave and create raised ridges. As Ian Davey noted at council, many of the Town’s insurance claims are sidewalk related.

MCGA
Reply to  Bryan
17 June 2021 2:11 pm

So, the Town is now completing a spanking brand new $250K sidewalk on Abbott Blvd even though it recognizes that these sidewalks inherently present insurance risk to the Town. And, in the winter these very same sidewalks are less safe than the roadway…particularly an extra-wide roadway such as you find with Abbott. Who’d a thunk?

Kevin
Reply to  JimT
18 June 2021 7:34 am

I have been told the snowplow cannot get down Mathew St. now that the sidewalks are wider and the road is narrower. According to residents they lost some on street parking as well. One wide sidewalk would allow the regular snowplow to plow the street and increase accessibility. There would also be reduced costs and more green space. The town is not following the timelines nor getting public input for the TMP. Why would we expect a new policy or committee to work as intended?

Lemon Cake
16 June 2021 9:26 pm

I think it’s a great initiative. Looks like there will be public consultation – I hope people here voice their concerns and that they are addressed. Why not keep an open mind and see what comes out of this work? It might be very positive for the town.

Concerned
Reply to  Lemon Cake
17 June 2021 11:47 am

Lemon Cake careful having an opinion that doesn’t align with the white male conservative.

cornbread
16 June 2021 4:12 pm

It would appear that our Mayor and council have set out in the wrong direction. We are seeing this type of program south of the border in schools etc. with the same type of reaction. Get back on track. BLM turned out to be a joke when the leader resigned and looks like she feathered her bed with a number of very expensive houses. Council, get back to the tasks you are expected to do and that your election platform stated.

Lyle
16 June 2021 2:29 pm

We could also call this new program/position “ looking for the boogie man ( person ) “ this is very sad that when being a straight white guy is a terrible thing, never realized that we had so many bigots etc in Cobourg that we had to hire someone to expose them

Downtowner
Reply to  Lyle
16 June 2021 2:43 pm

Seemed to be the only person missing. Is that not discrimination in its self?

cornbread
16 June 2021 10:49 am

Equity is about socialism …every one with the same outcome. Socialism does not work. Equality works…everyone has the same opportunity.

Concerned
Reply to  cornbread
17 June 2021 11:44 am

And so we try to get there and the white male whines and complains.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Concerned
17 June 2021 12:59 pm

Concerned, I believe that you missed cornbread’s point. The plan is an equity strategy rather than an equality strategy. White males appear to have been omitted so why shouldn’t they complain?

Concerned
Reply to  Ken Strauss
17 June 2021 2:13 pm

No I didn’t miss the point. You just made it for me when hetro white males think they are discriminated against compared to non-white non-heteros it is completely laughable.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Concerned
17 June 2021 3:27 pm

Concerned, discrimination against some is an inherent and unacceptable consequence of special treatment for others. Everyone should fight for equal rather than unequal treatment!

Rob
Reply to  Ken Strauss
17 June 2021 4:02 pm

Good point Ken – I think you just defined what “white privilege” is and why equity is important.

Concerned
Reply to  Rob
18 June 2021 9:27 am

Wasting you breath Rob they refuse to acknowledge white privilege, they will blame the minority and not take a good hard look at their own attitudes and behaviours. Whether it’s this or keeping “out of towners” of their beach!

Informed
Reply to  Concerned
18 June 2021 11:48 am

So now everyone that wants out of town ers from using our beach is a racist?. The beach is frequented by mostly people from the city on the weekends. You know…..covid hotspots! Im tired of the attitude that everyone that wants to stop inviting Covid-19 into our community is racist. I think alot of people would resent your last comment.

Concerned
Reply to  Informed
18 June 2021 1:47 pm

Not once have I used the word racist, you did,but there are a lot of attitudes on this blog of not wanting people in Cobourg who are not “from here” or who don’t have skin in the game is another popular one on here. Again people need to do some self reflection with some attitudes they communicate on here.

Informed
Reply to  Concerned
18 June 2021 5:26 pm

Based on your other comments you have made,it was a pretty good assumption .Personally i couldnt care less who uses the beach when covid is a non issue but i dont like the idea of cobourg taxpayers footing the bill for hoards of people coming from the city every weekend and spending little if anything in the Town. These daytrippers can be white,black,pink or brown.I dont believe they fit the definition of tourist. I believe we(the Town) is being taken advantage of.This is a bit off topic so Ill leave it as is. The beach issue has already be spoken about in great length.

Last edited 4 months ago by Informed
Sandpiper
16 June 2021 9:47 am

What does most of this stuff have to do with Accessibility here in Northumberland
are we trying to create a Job here
in the ethnic world Stop turning people into targets

Concerned
Reply to  Sandpiper
17 June 2021 2:25 pm

It is an Equity Diversity and inclusion policy not just Accesibility. Accessibility has a much broader meaning than it once did. It not just about access for persons with disabilities.

Gerald Childs
16 June 2021 9:28 am

Why do hetero men feel they are being picked on or made less of a man when maligned groups push for inclusion? The groups identified have been abused, harassed, killed, maligned, fired from their jobs because of their orientation. Heterosexual men have never had to push for equality, inclusion!

Sandpiper
Reply to  Gerald Childs
16 June 2021 10:06 am

Stated Without Prejudice
Not in this part of the world or Ontario you say Gerald
but it does happen don’t kid the rest of us that travel outside of Northumberland
Do you see any white of any sex Coburgrs working in ethnic owned convenience stores or local gas stations in this town ( may be years ago )
Just lighting a fuse ! for thought

Kevin
Reply to  Sandpiper
17 June 2021 8:16 am

Sandpiper, are you suggesting that non-white owners are not hiring whites to work in their stores? This may be true. From what I have heard it is very difficult to get people with an appropriate work ethic to work in fast food businesses. Long hours, shift work and low pay are not great reasons to take a job. But it is better than no job. Many people seem to be too privileged to do this kind of work. Some will be left behind by those, many non-white, that are willing to work.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Kevin
17 June 2021 9:03 am

Do your home work Please
There are no high paying jobs in Cobourg
unless you work for the Town , County , Schools or Medical ( Hospital )

Rob
Reply to  Sandpiper
17 June 2021 10:09 am

Sandpiper – what do you consider well paying? Nearly every manufacturing company in Cobourg is hiring and can not hire enough workers. Ontario is in a labour shortage (skilled and unskilled) and good paying positions are going unfilled…

Ontario employers are competing against government subsidies.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Rob
17 June 2021 10:51 am

To support Sandpiper’s point, according to https://www.ontariolivingwage.ca/living_wage_by_region the 2019 “living wage” in Northumberland was $18.06/hour. Most of the roadside Help Wanted signs are offering less.

Rob
Reply to  Ken Strauss
17 June 2021 11:22 am

Ken – please look beyond your nose. Starting rate of pay for skilled trades in our area >$33 per hour….nearly every plant in Cobourg is hiring them and can’t find. Many manufacturing plants are paying in excess of $18/hour and can’t find labour. Its time to curtail the Emergency Response Benefit and get Ontarians back to work.

Downtowner
Reply to  Gerald Childs
16 June 2021 2:43 pm

We do now.

CiW
16 June 2021 9:16 am

They forgot hetero. It should be 2SLGBTQ1APH+. What about the Narcissists and the Self-Satisfiers. Maybe we should add an N and a S-S?

Bill Thompson
Reply to  CiW
16 June 2021 10:55 am

Simplification….which shouldn’t overlook nor offend anyone.
Modify the requirement to Two Boxes on which to check on Sex
– No Thanks
– Yes Please

Last edited 4 months ago by Bill Thompson
Kevin
Reply to  CiW
17 June 2021 7:45 am

You joke, but adding so many characters (feel free to use different meanings of character) to LGBTQ is becoming a joke. Lets keep it simple as suggested by Bill Thompson. Straight White Adult Male People need not apply. You are good unless you are from the SWAMP.

Wally Keeler
15 June 2021 6:28 pm

Diversity, Inclusion and Equity produce the acronym, D.I.E.

Do you support D.I.E.ing?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Wally Keeler
15 June 2021 6:42 pm

Wally, it is inappropriate to poke fun at stupidity!

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Ken Strauss
16 June 2021 1:28 pm

Yes, it is, but don’t let that stop you.

Old Sailor
15 June 2021 5:12 pm

Would inclusion be easier if all the straight white males just moved out of town?? That group seems to be on everyone’s hit list these days. Maybe move them to Amherst Island? Then we might not need an inclusion strategy for the remaining residents.

JimT
Reply to  Old Sailor
16 June 2021 8:27 am

Would it help anyone feel better if I got a sweatshirt that said:

I’M WHITE
I’M MALE
I’M SORRY

Sandpiper
Reply to  JimT
16 June 2021 9:40 am

My wife would appreciate it if I wore one around the house once in a while
great Idea let us know where to buy them

Kevin
Reply to  JimT
17 June 2021 8:07 am

White males should be sorry. They are the one percent that are often blamed for creating a capitalist society. A society where the vast majority of people have comfortable places to live, more than enough food, health care and plenty of opportunity to complain about their situation. White males should be sorry that so many people are able to complain about the problems of the society that they benefit from.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Old Sailor
16 June 2021 9:47 am

Any statues around town that need to be removed while this is underway ?

Sandpiper
Reply to  Bill Thompson
16 June 2021 10:08 am

I am sure this New Department will find something to go after .

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Sandpiper
16 June 2021 2:10 pm

The obvious local statue to cancel is Introibo ad Altare Dei. He was in storage before so he might survive another removal. See https://www.cdhs.ca/histories/featured-articles/4-introibo-ad-altare-dei

JimT
Reply to  Ken Strauss
16 June 2021 7:18 pm

Statue on King st.

Informed
Reply to  Ken Strauss
16 June 2021 9:21 pm

Dont get rid of him. Often he is seen with a surgical mask on. He even has it over his nose!Leading by example.

Concerned
Reply to  Old Sailor
17 June 2021 11:41 am

Wow bit of hatred there. Just trying soften by saying what you really are implying…if your not white and straight leave.