Thirteen of UPEI’s buildings are inaccessible to people with disabilities
Only 5 buildings on the University of Prince Edward Island campus are accessible.
72% are inaccessible.
That is primarily because only 38% of the parking spaces are accessible measuring from the parking to the building.
Only 15 of the blue painted parking spaces are actually accessible under building codes adopted by Charlottetown and part of the National Building Code. There are 40 blue spaces with a wheelchair sign. That is 38% of the blue parking is legally accessible. The standard is the parking should be as close as possible to the door but no further than 50 meters. The furthest parking to building distance is 170 meters. The Charlottetown By-Law contains this rule at section is section 4.43.
Last week someone misinformed the Board of Governors that UPEI had 50% more accessible spaces than the law required. That statement, in light of the facts politely put, is disingenuous. Since we have been providing President MacLauchlan with the proper information since June, the buck must stop on his desk.
In terms of first time access, students with a disability can access Chi-Wan, MacDougall, the Small Animal Hospital, CARI, and the Classroom Centre from legally accessible parking. All other UPEI buildings are inaccessible.
Access between buildings is not much better. For example, a student entering MacDougall through the accessible entrance would have to travel over 150 meters to access Kelly or Duffy which are “as the crow flies” only a few meters away. MacDougall, like many buildings at UPEI, has a single accessible entrance. This is not only an accessibility problem; it creates a fire hazard for students who would have to cross the whole building despite being near an inaccessible exit.
Parenthetically, note that polite requests for the distance information were made to Greg Clayton of the Access-Ability committee in July when the story broke in the Guardian. Neither of them would help. Mr. Cudmore began a disinformation and slur campaign that is unbecoming of a major university.
President MacLauchlan was dismissive and said “Notwithstanding attempts to help you to understand the changes to disability parking arrangements at UPEI you continue to misrepresent the situation.” That was of course another disingenuous statement.
It’s not complicated. Maximum 50 meters is the law. One would think an enlightened university would want to err on the side of the angels. After all, people with disabilities don’t need to be abused.