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Downtown restaurant to meet with city over wheelchair ramp

There is new hope for an accessibility ramp in front of Signs Restaurant in the Yonge and Wellesley streets area.

The restaurant had been trying to get approval from the city for the ramp but after failed attempts decided to install one anyway.

About three weeks ago the restaurant was given notice by the city to remove the ramp because it encroaches on the public sidewalk.

Despite the warning, the ramp is still up.

“We haven’t removed it because we believe in having full access to the restaurant,” the restaurant’s general manager Rachel Shemuel told CityNews. “If not then the guests would have to come through the back which makes them feel like second class citizens.”

Signs, which opened in July and is Canada’s first restaurant mostly staffed by deaf servers, prides itself on being accessible to all.

Shemuel said Canada Post offered to help the situation by moving mailboxes located in front of the restaurant to allow more room for pedestrians to walk through.

“A Canada Post worker called me and asked me how he could help and I said well can we move them?” she explained. “That was the Friday after I got the violation and by Wednesday they were removed.”

The restaurant’s owners have scheduled a meeting with city officials on Tuesday to discuss a permanent solution.

“I am very hopeful that we can all come to common ground where there is an understanding that this needs to be accessible,” she said. “We’ll comply with the city’s needs but as long as it benefits us in the end for our clientele.”

One option brought forth is to make the ramp moveable so staff can bring indoors at the end of the night.

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