Improving the quality of life in the town is another major priority of the town council, Kogon said. It is why the council recently established an Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Committee and an Accessibility Advisory Committee. “We feel it is important that all voices, including those that have been marginalized in the past, be heard by council,” Kogon said.
While these are new committees, the mayor pointed out they have begun their important work. The Accessibility Advisory Committee, he noted, has launched a survey that is seeking public input into accessibility issues facing people with cognitive or physical impairment. The survey can be found at https://bit.ly/3PLZHqy.
The Inclusion, Diversity and Equity committee’s mandate is to advise the council on matters related to inclusion, diversity and equity. Its goal is to assist Amherst become a healthy, prosperous, inclusive, environmentally sustainable community in which people of all ages are engaged and proud to live, work and play in. In one of its first acts, the committee recommended changing the name of Lord Amherst Drive to Ancestral Drive.
“It is impossible to change history, but it’s a well-known fact Lord Amherst’s reputation has become tarnished by stories of smallpox-infected blankets used as germ warfare against First Nations people,” Kogon said. “Changing the name of the street shows the town is willing to acknowledge the wrongs of the past and is willing to take steps to create a more just society for all.
“The committee felt, and the council agrees, that Ancestral Drive is inclusive of all, as all peoples have ancestors that have helped shape this diverse community that is now working hard to sure we are inclusive and equitable as we move into the future.”