Ridges on reworked sidewalk block access to wheelchair ramp just weeks after its installation

When wheelchair-user Noah Siletta couldn't get into Wolfgang Social Club, they asked owner David Brown to install a ramp.

The request was fulfilled; soon, a wheelchair ramp allowed easy access to the tattoo parlour's entrance.

But a few weeks later, Ontario St. underwent construction. A two-centimetre ridge was established along the sidewalk, rendering the ramp inaccessible to those who need it.

"When I came in I realized there was a barrier," says Siletta.

Parlour owner David Brown was frustrated by the development.

"They didn't do it properly so it's still not even. The city should make sure it's always accessible," he says.

A NEED FOR CHANGE

Luca "Lazylegz" Patuelli is a disabled dancer, choreographer and motivational speaker.

He says he sees incomplete attempts at accessibility every day.

"The world in general is still inaccessible for people with disabilities. [That] doesn't mean that there aren't efforts being made," he says.

Patuelli cites one Montreal sports complex as an example, which is supposed to be accessible to all.

"In order to get out, I was locked in between the elevator and the exit door, there was no way I could physically exit the building myself," he explains.

Both Patuelli and Siletta want to get their message out.

"We've got the elections coming and I think right now, more than ever, it's the time for people with disabilities to have their voices heard when it comes to politics and policy," says Patuelli, who says accessibility should be universal and designed by people who live with disabilities.

Rabia Khedr, national director of the advocacy group Disability Without Poverty, says politicians need to make and keep promises to Canada's disabled population.

"These leaders need to take into account the fact that 6 million Canadians have a disability and are the largest minority group," she says.

She says any able-bodied person can acquire a disability at some point in their life.

"Every able-bodied Canadian should care about what our future looks like for people with disabilities."  

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