At Tuesday's City of Airdrie council meeting, a motion was passed to have city officials start taking steps to find out exactly what an accessibility audit is with the hopes of conducting one in the future.

Here is what Councillor Heather Spearman's motion contained:

  • Return to Council with an understanding of what an accessibility audit is and what it might achieve toward the Council Focus Area for a Caring Community.
  • Describe for the Council the current best practices for accessibility audits and the options for the depth of review of public and private facilities.
  • Research private sector and public sector grants available to fund an accessibility audit and/or implementation work from such audits.
  • Provide the Council with an estimated range of the time and resources required for the type(s) of accessibility audits and the ability to offset them with grants for the Council to consider before December 1, 2024.

"There are a lot of folks in the community of Airdrie that live with different barriers physically, mentally, and everything in between," stated Spearman. "While we do have quite a bit of provincial codes in place to help support our municipally run buildings, the question constantly comes up, at least for me, that there are still concerns about things that become barriers to those who have accessibility issues within our city."

According to Spearman, the spirit behind this motion is to find the best way to get a better handle on the city's current status in terms of how they (the city) support those with barriers.

Spearman pointed out that when Airdronians do face these barriers, people might not want to leave their homes.

"As a city that has one of our strategic priorities, being a caring community, this was a critical motion for me to see come forward. Ultimately, I would like to see the eventual involvement of citizen members. I do believe that having that on-the-ground conversation will be important to the future of how we support people with accessibility issues in Airdrie."

Deputy Mayor Al Jones stated he was 100 per cent in support of making sure the city is accessible to everyone, he did have some concerns when it came to possibly directing businesses on what they need to do to be more accessible.

"I am watching cautiously because I don't want to be perceived as overstepping. But I do think it's a great opportunity for us to look within ourselves and see where our own shortfalls are."

Councillor Ron Chapman posed the question about how much this may cost the city. Director Stephen Utz with the City stated as of right now, that number is unknown.

"I will come back to you before December 1, with that information (and much more)."

The reason for wanting to have all this information before December 1 is so that council can then decide if they would like to add this study to budget deliberations for 2025.

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