Letter of Support from the Mayor for the City of Saskatoon
The text below is a close representation of the letter sent by Charlie Clark, the mayor for the City of Saskatoon, to BFSK on June 16, 2017 to pledge his support for our our initiative to get an inclusion and accessibility act passed in the Province of Saskatchewan. It contain the original contents of his letter, while removing private information, such as postal addresses and telephone numbers.
City of Saskatoon
OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
Dear Mr. East:
It is my pleasure to write to you today to express my personal support in the creation of a barrier-free province that is designed for the success of all people. The work that Barrier Free Saskatchewan is doing is well-articulated, well-intentioned, and well-worth the effort for the positive effect it will have in making our communities more accessible and livable.
As a Councillor, I served on the Accessibility Advisory Committee upon its inception, and I saw first-hand the benefits of creating a community that is set up for all people. With the help of our administration, this committee created the Accessibility Action Plan for Saskatoon, something that was formally passed by City Council in 2008. As a result of adopting this plan, the City of Saskatoon has made changes to improve the accessibility of transit, sidewalks, civic centres, playgrounds, our online presence, and City Council meetings.
The Action Plan was created through engagement, collaboration, and understanding the needs of community members—very similar to what you are now hoping to do province-wide. I recognize the value in having consistent standards and tools for the province so that best practices can more easily be adopted as municipalities design, plan, retrofit, and reimagine buildings and services for increased accessibility. Provincially adopted standards would serve to assist the City of Saskatoon by creating clarity surrounding expectations. Looking to other provinces such as Ontario we can see success stories and learn that doing things a better way is possible, and that in creating barrier-free communities our collective quality of life increases.
In Saskatoon, the accessibility of our neighbourhoods, transportation options, civic facilities, and public services is of tremendous importance if we want to create a city in which all people can thrive. Doing so in turn helps our work of becoming a city with engaged citizens who have a strong sense of community and place. I recognize that the City of Saskatoon still has work to do to become more accessible, but it is with the help and encouragement of groups such as Barrier Free Saskatchewan that we will continue on this path and make progress in this area.
Please keep me informed on the progress of this very important initiative and let me know if I can be of any assistance.