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Accessibility Ramp Rebuild Removed From Perth Countys 2018 Budget

By Galen Simmons, Stratford Beacon Herald
Sunday, January 7, 2018

In this Beacon Herald file photo from March 2, 2017, past Perth County Warden, Mert Schneider, and Perth County accessibility coordinator Julia Opie discuss the Service Ontario ramp on the Perth County courthouse campus.

In this Beacon Herald file photo from March 2, 2017, past Perth County Warden, Mert Schneider, and Perth County accessibility coordinator Julia Opie discuss the Service Ontario ramp on the Perth County courthouse campus.

Without a government funding deadline to meet, Perth County councillors decided at Thursdays council meeting to remove the Service Ontario ramp reconstruction project most recently estimated at $175,000 from their 2018 capital budget.

At the crux of councils decision are two unresolved issues the seemingly exorbitant cost to demolish the current ramp and construct a new one, and the not-yet finalized solution to the accessibility and structural issues plaguing infrastructure on the Perth County courthouse campus.

I just find that (price) hard to believe. To fix the ramp at Spruce Lodge it was about $20,000 or $25,000, Coun. Rhonda Ehgoetz said. Until we figure out what were doing with this campus yes we might need the ramp but until we figure it out I cant see spending $175,000 until we know.

Until the 2018 facilities condition assessment on all county-owned building is complete the tender for which was awarded prior to the budget discussion at Thursdays meeting — Ehgoetz suggested council delay any further action on the project.

Is that even the right facility for the registry office (Service Ontario)? Coun. Jim Aitcheson asked. I dont want to spend $175,000 and all of the sudden their contracts up and theyre not there.

To reduce the cost of a ramp that may end up being temporary, Coun. Helen Dowd suggested having it built with a different material — such as pressure-treated wood, following the example of the new ramp built at the Embro Legion.

Im still not convinced that what was proposed is what we even want, Coun. Julie Behrns said. We were trying to make decisions quickly because we thought we had to meet (the funding deadline). As long as that building is a public building it doesnt matter whether Service Ontario is there or were there it doesnt matter, we still need to have access.

But Im not convinced that is the best point of access I guess my concern is its not so much the money, but are we sure that this is what we want to do because this is where we want to be?

Though councillors ultimately voted to remove the ramp project from the 2018 budget so staff can take more time to research all possible options, Warden Walter McKenzie cautioned council that the ramp in its current condition is already causing problems for those who use it.

Weve got to be cognisant of the fact that people have slipped and fallen, and there was one a month or so ago, so we have to be aware that we have an issue here, McKenzie said. At some point in time were going to have to address it.

gsimmons@postmedia.com

Original at http://www.stratfordbeaconherald.com/2018/01/07/accessibility-ramp-rebuild-removed-from-perth-countys-2018-budget