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Voter upset with accessibility issue at polling station

'It shouldn’t be happening. This is 2022'
A voter was upset with accessibility issues created at the West End Community Centre on election day.

Is roof work getting in the way of prospective voters at a Ward 4 polling station? 

A 50-foot section of sidewalk was taped off in front of the West End Community Centre during voting for Monday’s municipal election, forcing anyone not in a motor vehicle approaching from Imperial Road onto the paved driveway if they need a flat surface to travel.

“Inclusion shouldn’t be just lip service,” commented Ward 4 resident Jennifer Cameron, who walks with a cane. “The west end rec. centre shouldn’t have been a voting station if it wasn’t accessible.”

Polling stations throughout the city opened at 10 a.m. and will remain open until 8 p.m.

Cameron said she went to the community centre at about 2 p.m. and was able to cast her vote, but was alarmed about the inaccessible sidewalk, thinking of the impact it could have on other prospective voters. 

She was driven up to the centre’s main doors, which weren’t blocked, but expressed worry about anyone with mobility issues trying to navigate the sidewalk from Imperial, which is where the nearest bus stop is located.

“That’s not OK,” Cameron said. “It shouldn’t be happening. This is 2022.”

That section of sidewalk remained taped off when GuelphToday visited the centre shortly after 4 p.m. A sign posted there warns of work being done on the roof. A small crane which had been hanging over the sidewalk leading up to the main entrance had been moved to another section of the building.

Asked about the concern, city clerk Stephen O’Brien said anyone experiencing accessibility issues can reach out to polling station or community centre staff for assistance.

“We would be in a position to support any elector that needed assistance if they were attempting to navigate the sidewalk,” he said.

Cameron said she filed a complaint with election staff at the polling station.

“If somebody gets hurt today trying to vote, that’s on the city,” she said, noting city officials must have known about the ongoing roof work at the municipal facility and its impact on the sidewalk. 

Accessibility is always an issue when it comes to voting, Cameron added, stating she’s come across problems during recent provincial and federal elections as well.

“It’s not going to change if we don’t keep making noise about it,” she said.


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Richard Vivian

About the Author: Richard Vivian

Richard Vivian is an award-winning journalist and longtime Guelph resident. He joined the GuelphToday team as assistant editor in 2020, largely covering municipal matters and general assignment duties
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