A local blogger, the burg watch, has asked all the candidates their views on Open Air Weekends and accessibility. Here is my answer:

Question: Will you remove barriers during Open Air weekends that block people with disabilities from driving to the bank, local stores, bars, and generally driving through town?

Open Air Weekends has provided our youth a safe place to gather. I’ve been astounded this year to see how many more teens and younger kids are playing street chess, ping pong and corn hole instead of sitting at home staring into their phone. They come to Open Air on their feet, their scooters and their bikes and they get fresh air and exercise in the open and in the community, away from isolation and away from trouble.

Open Air Weekends has become a family-friendly attraction in a Town with so few things for our youth to do. I think we need to embrace that energy and that momentum and build on it, creating even more programming for our kids and young families. Open Air has improved every year and it still hasn’t reached its potential.

The Town has taken in feedback each year and made improvements. The footprint was made smaller this year, creating an intensified experience and more parking. The revised footprint added 21 additional spots, including two new accessible spots. There are now accessible parking spaces in the King’s Navy Yard Parking lot and at each of the three entrances to Open Air. All told, there are 549 parking spaces within a six-minute walk of Richmond and Dalhousie and 321 within three minutes, according to an administrative report.

If there are persisting issues with accessibility, let’s work collaboratively to address them in consultation with the Town’s Accessibility Advisory Committee. Let’s not give up on something that engages our youth while promoting economic development, something that sets our Town apart in a positive way and creates the sort of bustling environment where a hotel cannot only open but flourish. 

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Donald McArthur

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Donald McArthur is running a positive and progressive campaign for re-election to Amherstburg Council. Go Aburg!