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Complaint filed for council chamber accessibility

Senior was taken to hospital last month after tumbling down stairs in council chambers
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St. Albert Place

A concerned citizen has made a complaint to Alberta Occupational Health and Safety in response to a senior man tumbling down some stairs during a city council meeting.

Former city councillor Bob Russell made the complaint Wednesday, saying it is hazardous accessing the podium area in council chambers where residents go to speak to council.

“We’re getting an older population; they’re still involved, they still care, and they’d like to come down and speak to council,” he said.

Last month, one of city council’s meetings was interrupted after resident Mike Killick fell down the stairs leading to the public podium area and had to be transported by ambulance to the Sturgeon Hospital.

Killick said clearly the set-up is dangerous, and could be hazardous to anybody, let alone a senior citizen or someone who has mobility issues.

“It must be fixed,” he said. “It’s a safety concern that must be fixed, if (only) so it just prevents anything similar that happened to me from happening to anybody else.”

Killick tumbled down the short flight of steps before bumping his head against a brick barrier in front of the public podium. Aside from bumping his head, he suffered no lasting injuries.

When asked if the city has any plans to address the situation, St. Albert communications adviser Marci Ng said the city “appreciates the situation” and is reviewing the accessibility of council chambers.

St. Albert has completed accessibility upgrades in council chambers, including making room for two wheelchairs with a glass guard in front. However, there are no ramps leading to the public podium area.

Ng said because St. Albert Place is a designated a Municipal Historic Resource, any alterations to the building must be approved by the Heritage Advisory Committee.

Russell said he hopes Alberta Occupational Health and Safety will complete an inspection of the facility and come up with recommendations.

He added the situation is preventing some folks who want to approach city council from doing so.

“You’re really prohibiting people that want to be involved from being involved. It’s their right to be able to do this with comfort and not be concerned about their ... safety,” Russell said.


Hannah Lawson

About the Author: Hannah Lawson

Hannah Lawson joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2019 after working as editor of the Athabasca Advocate. She writes about city hall.
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