Huron County Accessibility Advisory Committee Awards announced
Central Huron’s Shoppability project in Clinton and Cait’s Café, in Goderich were the winners of the 2021 Huron County Accessibility Advisory Committee’s Awards.
Central Huron Community Improvement Coordinator, Angela Smith, organized the Shoppability project. She explains, she approached store owners in downtown Clinton and asked them to consider putting push-button door openers on their doors, regardless of if they had a step up or not.
“I think that was probably the biggest challenge, to get folks on board with that. When they think of automatic door openers, they think of wheelchairs coming in and out, which would be fabulous and we are working towards eliminating steps so we have a barrier free design,” said Smith.
But Smith points out, in the short term, everyone can benefit from having an automatic opening door and she says thirteen store owners got on board and put in door openers. Smith adds all of the store owners are considering things they can do to remove barriers. Some of them are looking at getting rid of steps, some are considering portable ramps and they are also looking for things that would help visually-impaired people.
Smith says she’s extremely grateful for the support of the store owners. “They were the ones that actually undertook the construction and paid for the job out of pocket in the hope that I would be successful in receiving grant money for them, which we did, so it made it very affordable. But I just can’t thank the business owners enough for taking the leap of faith.”
Smith says some even went beyond that. Corries Foodland in Clinton paid for door bells for 46 stores so that if anyone needed help getting into a store they could ring the doorbell.
Honourable Mention in the Business Category went to the BMO Bank of Montreal, Goderich Branch and Arnold Morrison in Wingham. Honourable Mention in the Public Sector Category went to the Kingsbridge Centre in Kingsbridge and the County Road 12/Seaforth Main Street Construction in Huron East.