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‘Empathy’ key goal of Accessibility Advisory Panel

Greater Sudbury’s Accessibility Advisory Panel joined the city’s elected officials in marking National AccessAbility Week at Tom Davies Square on Tuesday afternoon

When it comes to accessibility, empathy is key.

So described Accessibility Advisory Panel co-chair Travis Morgan, adding that with empathy comes an understanding of people’s diverse needs.

“Removing barriers for us also improves the general well-being of the entire community,” he said. “What might be an inconvenience for you might be an insurmountable barrier for us.” caught up with Morgan and fellow co-chair Gina Kennedy at Tom Davies Square following a proclamation from Mayor Paul Lefebvre announcing this to be National AccessAbility Week in Greater Sudbury.

The city’s Accessibility Advisory Panel provides the city with advice on accessibility of municipal services, programs and facilities.

Although the pandemic slowed things down, Morgan said the city has proceeded with a number of positive steps forward, including a ramp from a parking lot into Bell Park.

They’ve also been having “wonderful interaction” with the Downtown Sudbury Business Improvement Area to help improve accessibility around their summer patio program.

The One Stop Shop at Tom Davies Square is another positive, Morgan said, adding that staff have been “wonderful” and meet people’s needs as much as possible.

During 2023 budget deliberations, the city’s elected officials also approved the construction of a universal washroom at Tom Davies Square.

Last year, city council approved a 2022-27 Multi-Year Accessibility Plan, which Kennedy credited as something they are proud of.

“I think the city has been doing an amazing job of being open and willing to do things to make it more inclusive,” Kennedy said, adding that the advisory panel’s role is to ensure things continue down that road.

“My goal, my personal goal on the panel, is to make sure this conversation continues.”

Ward 12 Coun. Joscelyne Landry-Altmann sits on the advisory panel, and told there has been a greater understanding at city hall regarding the importance of viewing projects through the “strategic lens” of accessibility.

“Now that the communication gates are open, people understand more,” she said. 

When the Junction East Cultural Hub (library/art gallery project) was approved last year, she said there was wide-ranging support to include an enhanced accessibility option for an additional cost of $4.7 million.

With the Junction East Cultural Hub subsequently scrapped in favour of a smaller project, she said Greater Sudburians “can bet on” it being built with accessibility top of mind.

The same applies to whatever new or renewed Sudbury Community Arena project the city ends up proceeding with, she said.

On Saturday, The Ward 1 Community Action Network is hosting a tour of the newly designed accessible garden at the Delki Dozzi Community Garden (3 Mary Street in Sudbury). The tour begins at 10 a.m. 

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for


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Tyler Clarke

About the Author: Tyler Clarke

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for
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