By Laura Broadley, St. Thomas Times-Journal
Tuesday, June 26, 2018
A little bit of St. Thomas will be in a province-wide handbook aimed at making main streets more accessible.
St. Thomas resident, Lisa Kelly, has been named as one of eight members of an advisory committee of a project aimed at identifying accessibility challenges experienced by business improvement areas and their business members.
The accessibility on main street project is an initiative of the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association, which is comprised of 300 local BIAs and their 60,000 business members.
“(The association) wants to make sure businesses are equipped with the tools they need in order to make their businesses accessible by 2025,” Kelly said.
The members of the project advisory committee will meet and participate in a variety of focus groups and webinars throughout the year and ultimately create an “Accessible Main Street Handbook” that will be distributed to BIAs across the province.
Kelly has been on the municipal accessibility advisory committee for two years. She is also an advisor to the St. Thomas Downtown Development Board and the municipal heritage committee.
“With those three committees I’m helping St. Thomas work towards making our downtown more accessible,” Kelly said.
Kelly has a passion for making sure everyone has access to their community, including goods and services.
“It’s legislation that Ontario has implemented to ensure that everybody is aware of their obligation as a business,” Kelly said.
As a part of a personal project, Kelly met with businesses downtown St. Thomas to determine some accessibility issues they were having. She then presented her findings to the Downtown Development Board.
“They found that very useful,” Kelly said.
Kelly’s determination to improve accessibility comes from her experience with family members with disabilities and her work background.
There are a host of barriers that people with disabilities may encounter when going to a business, including communication and transportation barriers, Kelly said.