Contractors belatedly install a wheelchair ramp at the Chickenburger outlet on Queen St. in Halifax Monday afternoon. Background here. Congratulations to Gus Reed for making HRM a little more inclusive than it was yesterday.

The city insists that installing the ramp was a condition of Mickey MacDonald’s “temporary” occupancy permit all along, but the chronology of events tells a different story.

July 4 — Reed, who uses a wheelchair, meets with MacDonald to protest against the newly opened restaurant’s inaccessibility. The owner is adamant that a ramp is not feasible.

July 6 — Reed writes to Brad Anguish, HRM’s Director, Community & Recreation Services, to complain that Chickenburger is out of compliance with the barrier-free requirements of the Nova Scotia Building Code Act.

July 10 — HRM building inspector Michael Morgan visits Chickenburger and issues an “Order to Comply” requiring it to install a ramp.

So… kudos to MacDonald and HRM for putting this right, after an initial delay and a push from Gus Reed.

But wouldn’t it be good to see the city take a pro-active approach and issue similar orders to restaurants that have been out o compliance for years?

Chickenburger: No wheelchair users need apply

Chickenburger, the iconic Halifax restaurant chain, recently opened a new outlet in a renovated building on Queen St., just off Spring Garden Road.

Despite the requirements of the NS Building Code Act, the renovations did not include wheelchair access. No one who uses a wheelchair can eat at Chickenburger. No one who uses a wheelchair can work at Chickenburger.

How can this happen in 2012? How can a community-spirited businessman like Mickey MacDonald thumb his nose at potential customers and employees who use wheelchairs?

More importantly, how did the city allow this to happen? HRM is one of the most over-regulated cities in Canada, with a planning department renowned for putting developers through tortuous hoops to get the simplest changes approved. Why did they suddenly lose their nerve when it came to enforcing legally mandated equality of access for people with disabilities?

Disability rights activist Warren Reed ask diners to pledge not to eat at Chickenburger until Mickey does the right thing by his potential customers and employees, and installs 21st-century standard wheelchair access. Sign up here.