It is Disability Awareness Week in Saint John and while the city says things have improved, some people feel there are still barriers for those with disabilities.
Andrew Miller relies on a motorized wheelchair to get around. He said he’s seen what the city has done to help improve accessibility, but more needs to be done.
“Most sidewalks are just horrible getting on and off,” Miller said. “Some of the main office buildings, there’s no way in, no accessibility to them.”
But Miller admits things have improved for the disabled, including some sidewalks and the transit system.
Mayor Don Darling has attended many events where he has heard concerns like sidewalks and building accessibility.
“We’re a historical city,” Darling said. “We’re a city with significant grades up and down, especially in the uptown core. So I think if there are buildings that people are having trouble accessing we should hear about it.”
Darling said he feels the city is doing a good job overall, but can always improve and efforts to do so throughout the year.
Educating people about disabilities is another important aspect the people feel needs to be addressed.
Earlier in the week a local daycare was visited by Wanda Berrette, who is deaf. She shared with the children what her life is like, as well as teaching them a few signs.
Berrette said the purpose is to show them a different world, a different culture.
“Just to have the realization that you know, I can’t hear but I use sign language, then when they grow up they will already have had the experience of meeting a deaf person,” said Berrette through interpreter Holly Francoeur.
Disability Awareness Week included various activities including a discussion with city officials about positive steps that have been made as well as barriers that still remain.