Disability advocacy group wants adult sized-changing tables in city parks
NORTH BAY -- A group in North Bay advocating for the rights of adults with disabilities is hopeful city hall will install adult-sized changing tables in some municipal facilities across the city.
The group, Parents of Adults with Developmental Disabilities or P.A.D.D., is asking for the equipment to be installed at two city parks, Amelia and Armstrong, as well as have them installed at the soon-to-be-built $30 million community centre.
If approved, the tables would be set up in the washrooms, so people in wheelchairs and other mobility challenges don’t have to change on the ground or in public.
"If the children or adults need to use the change tables, they should be available for them to use," said group member Linda Thomas-Ouellette. "We need to express our need to the city. We can do it for our people in our community."
The city says the new community arena complies with the Accessibility for Ontarians Disability Act, equipped with an elevator, accessible washrooms and showers.
"We do have a space for such a room with a change table and the lift that goes with it," said North Bay City Councillor Johanne Brousseau. "This is a new ask."
The changing tables would cost the city about $10,000 each to install and that doesn’t include future maintenance and upkeep cost.
At this point in time, there is no plan to install any. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the city is saying "no" to a future purchase.
"If the need is there, and once it’s there, it has to be used. I just want to feel good that we’re spending money for things that will be used, like anything else in the community," said Brousseau.
"The Ontario Human Right Commission did a study and their ruling was that the change tables are definitely an acceptable service," said Thomas-Ouellette.
There already is one adult-sized changing table at the local YMCA, but the group argues more need to be installed to meet the growing demand and so people of all abilities can use the parks.