Liability concerns are pushing Norfolk County in the direction of major modifications to the courtyard on the west side of Governor Simcoe Square.
Last week, Norfolk council gave staff permission to produce concept drawings and a budget for raising the courtyard to the level of the surrounding streetscape.
The drawings will be executed with an eye to eliminating liability concerns while improving accessibility for people with mobility issues.
The plans will also eliminate vehicular access to the west entrance of Governor Simcoe Square and the west entrance of the Simcoe library.
Norfolk’s risk management office has worried about the curb cut on Talbot Street South ever since it was installed many years ago to accommodate Clearview Cable’s mobile broadcasting studio.
The days of bulky, camera stations in the gallery at council are long gone now that the county has installed in-house web cams. These unobtrusive devices broadcast council meetings live on the Internet and local cable access stations.
“It’s a very busy pedestrian area,” Mayor Charlie Luke said of the courtyard. “If we can figure out a way to unload and accommodate let’s keep vehicles out on the street.”
In a report to council, Shelby Verkindt, Norfolk’s supervisor of accessibility compliance, cited a number of accessibility and liability concerns with the courtyard’s current design.
For one, access to the picnic table in the centre of the sunken courtyard is by stairs. Anyone with mobility issues is unable to use it. Because the courtyard is a public amenity on public property, this is a violation of the…
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