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(VIDEO) Wilson raises issue of accessibility funding for Clearview’s small halls in Ontario Legislature

(March 10, 2020) Today in the Ontario Legislature, Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson asked the government about funding for municipalities struggling to make accessibility upgrades to their community small halls as mandated by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

 

Wilson raised the matter after meeting with Clearview Township Mayor Doug Measures who explained that the municipality estimates the cost of accessibility upgrades to their seven small halls to be in the range of $6 to $8 million.

 

The Official Hansard of Wilson’s remarks is below:

 

 

Many small towns across the province are struggling to make accessibility upgrades to their community halls.

 

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act has created accessibility standards that all levels of government, including municipalities, must comply with by 2025.

 

Clearview Township in my riding has seven community small halls. These halls serve as gathering places for community events where people can socialize and play cards or mark important occasions like birthdays, weddings and family reunions. Clearview’s small halls are the heart of their communities and form the foundation of the Township’s agricultural heritage. 

 

Clearview Township founded The Small Halls Festival in 2014, which is held every year in October and features a number of community concerts and events.

 

Mr. Speaker, Clearview estimates the cost of accessibility upgrades to their seven small halls to be in the range of $6 to 8 million. The township wants to know what will happen if the 2025 deadline is missed—will the Township have to close the Halls or will the Ontario government help them to keep them open, will there be any stopgap measures that can be undertaken that would allow the municipality to prioritize renovations. These are just some of the questions the municipality has posed.

 

While the Township values these facilities and wants to do the right thing to keep them open, the costs may be too prohibitive.

 

These buildings are important to the communities they serve; they are the lifeblood of rural Ontario in the areas they serve; and, they are significant to my riding and, as such, I look forward to the government’s response to this important issue. 

 

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