Here is the story about Pizza Pizza. They have a small store at Wellesley St. East and Parliament. Pizza Pizza decided to make yet another store around the corner to a lot on Parliament Street near Wellesley recently. The store grand opening was around October 1st, 2002. (Pizza pizza now has 3 stores within 2 blocks here - there is another new huge one at Wellesley & Church Sts. Brand new, fully renovated. I haven't been there yet but I'm wondering if it's accessible, probably not all things considered.)
Here is the problem.. It seems Pizza Pizza put 1/2 million into renovations of the existing store on the new lot but neglected to make it wheelchair accessible! Matter of fact there is a 6" step.
Local politicians and local residents brought this problem up with pizza pizza who claimed they didn't have to make their store wheelchair accessible. Now.. according to the Ontario Building Code section 3.8 they must. If they are making major renovations to a building that includes the entrance they must make the entrance wheelchair accessible. I may be wrong but with all that money going into a renovation I'm pretty sure something was done to those main doors.
Even if I'm wrong and they did not renovate that main door in any way, their lack of concern for disabled patrons and their sense of committment which they seem very proud of on their website is way too far off as far as I'm concerned. This is a company that claims community awareness and involvement.
I took this a step further and wrote pizza pizza a letter on October 8th, 2002 from a form on their website (no email address was available) requesting the name and email of the president of the company. I received an email back the following day giving me the name of his/her assistant and their email. This is not what I requested so I sent another email the next day explaining again what I wanted. I never heard anything back. I waited until October 17th and emailed back again to the person that responded (m. grogan) to my initial email but never heard a word back from her to this day. Btw, I tried again on Nov. 1st but still no response.
Since I was dealing with silence on their part I decided to attempt to write the assistant who's email I did receive. This was a completely fruitless effort as well. On October 21st I wrote the following letter to this person:
I have a problem with your newest store on Parliament St. just below Wellesley St. East in Toronto. I can't access it!
I have used Pizza Pizza since day one basically. For the most part I order in due to the fact I'm disabled and can't access the 2 stores nearest to me. One on Wellesley St. East near Parliament and the other on Wellesley St. East near Church St. Neither has an accessible main door.
Much to my delight I heard of a new store opening on Parliament St near Wellesley. A completely renovated store. Now I would have the option of dropping in to pick up my pizza on my way home from running errands. Well, needless to say I was in for a shock wasn't I? A brand new store, fully renovated and absolutely NO DISABLED ACCESS!
I would like to know why this store has no access for the disabled. Were you aware that there are over 400,000 disabled in the City of Toronto? That we are no longer shuttled away somewhere but are an active, vital part of today's society and we are out there in the work force as well. This means we have capital. Money to spend. Now we need the opportunity to access the stores to spend our money. The area this new Pizza Pizza is in has a huge population. As a matter of fact, St. Jamestown which is just up the street is the most densely populated area in all of Canada! Not only that, but in this one large block of apartment buildings there are two designated disabled buildings that are each 30 story's high. One of which is in fact the largest apartment building in North America with 711 apartments in it alone!
I was not only shocked but infuriated as well. In today's society for such a large company to be ignorant of the facts or so insensitive to a large portion of the population is beyond me. Someone there should have looked into the Ontario Building Code as well. You are in direct violation of section 3.8 of the Ontario Building Code. This section concerns any and all buildings doing major renovations. This does not mean just gov't buildings, hospitals and such. It includes any business/building that does major renovations. There is absolutely no reason why a ramp and automatic door could not have been figured into the expenses of the renovations of that store. There are specific regulations on ramps built and there are some places that space prohibits a straight ramp but there are also ways around it such as a zigzagged ramp as long as the specifications are followed including the incline level and width. But... this particular store has no reason but thoughtlessness behind the exclusion of accessibility to the disabled.
This needs to be corrected. Not surveyed, not round tabled, not set aside for debate, not set aside for future implementation. Simply corrected and with speed. I realize these are franchises but that is still no excuse either. Regardless of who is the owner, they still carry the Pizza Pizza name and your reputation. Which I may add, on my part, and many of the disabled in this area is waining right now due to this.
I really would appreciate some answers to my questions and I will relay them to the disabled of this area at my next meeting with agencies representatives in the area.
Guess what? I never received a response! Not as much as a 'how do you do?'. I waited. Then on November 1st I resent the letter asking why no one responded to it. It is now November 19th, 2002 and still no response what-so-ever.
Today I sent this woman yet another letter but this one sent says the following:
As of tomorrow Pizza Pizza will go into the 'hall of shame' on my website complete with pictures. This is a site for the disabled in affiliation with my main website which attracts well over one million individual hits a year. It's obviously quite popular and seen by many. Pictures of the store in question will be inserted with the location address, a copy of the letter I sent and the dates it was sent will also be on the site. And it will be mentioned that I never received as much as a "how do you do" from your company showing just how much Pizza Pizza is concerned with the disabled in the city of Toronto.
Even if Pizza Pizza finally answers my email it's too late in my books. I've been trying for over a month now and obviously customer and consumer concerns are of no concern to them. Especially considering the disabled. If I ever do hear back from them I will post their email here as well. Update.. it is now January 9th, 2003 and I've never heard a single word from Pizza Pizza.
FINAL UPDATE: Well, many years later they finally got the message and installed a half-assed ramp on their side door. Mind you, not the main door. And not an automatic door either. Too litte, too late Pizza Pizza. Seems they don't realize there are a dozen different pizza places in our area that disabled can get into.