Work is now complete on an enhanced visitors’ entrance at Confederation Building Complex in St. John’s. The new entrance will open tomorrow (Thursday, October 18) for public use and includes accessibility and security features that will benefit all visitors.
In accordance with 2018 amendments to the provincial Buildings Accessibility Regulations, the new entrance located at the link between East Block and West Block, has extended accessible curb sections; tactile indicator surfaces to mark key entrance features; a smoother, more gradually sloped walkway; more space and waiting area seating than the previous visitors’ entrance; and other features incorporating universal design elements.
The entrance also includes new equipment to assist security services staff in maintaining a safe and secure facility. Visitors are required to provide identification, pass through a metal detector, and be escorted by a representative of the department they are visiting. Packages and bags will also be scanned.
Security guards will be located at the new entrance during business hours, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday, and can accommodate visitors with special requests and barriers to access, such as pregnant women and visitors with pacemakers, who may have concerns with passing through the metal detector.
In addition, persons with mobility challenges may use the main employee entrances of East Block or West Block—whichever is the closest point of access—and security guards will be available to provide assistance if needed.
Visitors to the House of Assembly when it is in session will still be able to use East Block entrances and those who arrive via the new entrance will be escorted.
“We appreciate the input and co-operation from the Disability Policy Office and Coalition of Persons with Disabilities to help us increase the accessibility at Confederation Building. In the past year, we have added additional accessible parking spaces near the new visitors’ entrance and made accessibility a top priority in the design of our infrastructure projects, and we continue to look for other ways we can improve accessibility at our public buildings.”
Honourable Steve Crocker
Minister of Transportation and Works
“As a government, we recognize the importance of being an inclusive province where individuals have access and choices about participating in all aspects of their life and community. By working collaboratively with such groups as the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities and CNIB, we are providing enhanced accessibility to the Confederation Building Complex for individuals with disabilities with the opening of a new visitors’ entrance between East Block and West Block. We remain committed to continuing our work with community partners to ensure inclusion and accessibility for all people.”
Honourable Lisa Dempster
Minister Responsible for the Status of Persons with Disabilities
“The Coalition of Persons with Disabilities is pleased with the level of engagement from the Department of Transportation and Works in this process and in ensuring the equitable access of persons with disabilities at the Confederation Building Complex. It is these intentional points of contact with the disability community that will ensure our government is upholding the right to access for all citizens. The first point of entry into provincial government buildings sets the tone of inclusion and access and it is critical this is done from a universal framework.”
Executive Director, Coalition of Persons with Disabilities – Newfoundland and Labrador
“The new visitors’ entrance at Confederation Building gives people in our community living with sight loss the opportunity to enter the building independently and that is definitely a step in the right direction. We hope it becomes an example to others in the province.”
Debbie Ryan, Program Lead, Advocacy and Public Engagement
Canadian National Institute for the Blind
– 30 –