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Letter: Safe sidewalks a concern in rural Nova Scotia

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The Municipality of Pictou County has passed an active transportation strategy and is in the middle of forming an accessibility committee. Clearly more education is still needed for whoever believes these “walkways” to be sufficient. 

The state of providing a safe, clear pathway for our community is something that should be taken seriously. Nova Scotia has set a goal to be accessible by 2030 under the Accessibility Act, passed in April 27, 2017. The town of Trenton, Pictou, New Glasgow & Stellarton have been completing some much needed groundwork for addressing accessibility issues. These towns are listening to community members and updating their standards for many. 

The issue I (and others) have is with the Municipality of Pictou County, as the Blue Acres limits fall between two of these towns. Although I am very pleased the Nova Scotia Accessibility Act was passed a few years ago, there seems to be a larger issue here for the Municipality of Pictou County to understand. 

There is clearly a lack of collaborative approach taken as the listed pictures below are NOT a suitable pathway to promote health and wellness for ALL. 

Leaving large amounts of snow on sidewalks is NOT accessible. Walking in depths of mud, gravel, and uneven “walkways” is NOT accessible. Walking/running on East River Road with no available sidewalks is NOT accessible. 

This woman was stuck and needed help. Photo Facebook

Bill 59 was amended after witnesses appeared at the law amendments committee and staff consulted with representatives of persons with disabilities. This area in Blue Acres that is of concern has been raised many times, over the years. Yet there seems to be no action being pushed to the larger table as this continues to be ignored. Why? We have youth group homes minutes away from this location. A high-school not too far away. East River Road is an extremely busy road, averaging around 23,000 car trips a day. People need access to safe crossing and safe walkways here. 

Nearly 20% (144,000) of Nova Scotians are currently living with a disability, and this number is expected to increase as the population of our province ages. The Accessibility Directorate is responsible for: supporting the implementation and administration of the Accessibility Act and future accessibility regulations; addressing broader disability-related initiatives; acting as the central mechanism for ensuring the concerns of persons with disabilities are heard and acted upon by government. 

The Nova Scotia government is working with people with disabilities, and public and private sector organizations to create six standards for an accessible Nova Scotia. The accessibility standards will apply to: goods and services, information and communication; transportation; employment; education; and built environment. 

These standards are in development. Compliance with the standards is mandatory and the Act contains fines of up to $250,000 for the most serious cases of non-compliance. 

I ask those who care for our community to reach out to any or all of the listed officials below. Suitable walking pathways at a very BUSY road section in Blue Acres, Plymouth, Nova Scotia seems to have been neglected/ignored for many years. Social media could be helpful to provide a spotlight on this safety concern.

Brittany Lynn

See also: Letter: Safe sidewalks and footpaths are a must for any community

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