Plants Hanging Too Low for Unsighted Residents

June 25, 2010

-Denise Chamberlain is not tall. In fact, she is only 5 feet two inches tall. But the blind woman is certainly tall enough to walk regularly into the hanging
plants that Cobourg parks department employees have hung from banner support poles.

She says this happens with some of the hanging plants on King Street, but not as often as it does on Albert Street.

As much as a third of the large hanging planters are hanging over the sidewalk.

Chamberlain says of other visually challenged women she knows, “All the ladies in town are having trouble.”

She thinks the planters are actually lower this year than they were last year.

At one point earlier in the week, Chamberlain was so frustrated she just began ripping parts of a plant off that were in her face, thinking that she didn’t
mind if she ended up charged for doing it.

It’s difficult enough walking into the plants, she says, noting the bottoms of the planters are soft, but after a heavy rain like yesterday’s, they can
be quite wet.

The town is supposed to be making itself more accessible to handicapped people, Chamberlain says, but the low-hanging flower pots are making it worse.

As she mentioned, she is not alone in this situation. Cheryl Blodgett, who was chair of the Cobourg Accessibility Advisory Committee, resigned last week
because of the flower issue.

She wrote letters about the issue in April and May to the town.

“It’s like nobody is listening,” she says.

It’s a simple request, Blodgett says. Northumberland County adopted the London Accessibility Guidelines several years ago, she says, which establish an 82.75-inch height guideline for clearance.

“When they are wet it’s awful!” she says about walking into the flower pots.


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