June 6, 2018. The Let’s Loop PEI Project, made possible due to a grant from the CHHA Foundation, had a third site participating – the City of Charlottetown. The city decided to loop the public portion of its council chambers, as well as the reception desk. Also on the list for hearing loop access is the billing counter.
Mayor Clifford Lee commented in a recent press release. “We are proud to be involved in the Let’s Loop PEI project, becoming the first municipality in the province to take this step and make the public spaces at City Hall more accessible to people with hearing loss,” said Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee. “Our Civic Board for Persons with Disabilities, which we created in 2005, has been working with us each year to find more ways to provide equal service and access to all. On behalf of City Council, I commend them for the work they do and would like to thank them for encouraging us join forces..”
We are grateful to the city for stepping forward immediately upon hearing of this project. It’s never easy to be first!
The City of Charlottetown went through the same steps as South Shore United Church and West River United Church:
Step 1: The Field Survey
The City of Charlottetown did its own field survey.
Step 2: The EMI Test
Pieter Valkenburg did the EMI (electromagnetic interference) test of the council chambers, carefully noting placement of every microphone and TV connection, anything that might cause interference.
Pieter Valkenburg at Charlottetown city hall council chambers. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)
Step 3: The Site Evaluation
Phil Pater and Tom Barnes, along with Bill and Wilma Droogendyk of Better Hearing Solutions, did the site evaluation. John Donahoe, the city’s IT consultant was an interested observer and participated in some of the training sessions.
Tom Barnes, with John Donahoe in the background. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)
- Left to right: John Donahoe, Bill Droogendyk, Wilma Droogendyk. Careful measurements spell success! (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)
Testing testing testing! Phil Pater and Wilma Droogendyk. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)
Step 5: Wiring The Council Chambers
As Charlottetown’s city hall is a historic building from 1888, designated as a National Historic Site of Canada on November 23, 1984, it was important to ensure that no trace of the wiring showed, and none does. It’s hidden under the carpet.
Phil Pater and Tom Barnes wired the council chambers. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)
Step 6: Hooking the Loop Driver to the Sound System
After the wiring was done, the loop driver (amplifier) was hooked to the council chamber’s sound system and calibrated to the IEC60118 standard for a compliant hearing loop.
An informal testing was done by members of the Civic Board for Persons with Disabilities. Brenda Porter, who is on this board, and has hearing aids with telecoils, commented on the clarity of sound and that there was no background noise to interfere with what was being said.
The city notes that “The next public meeting of Council is on Monday, June 11 at 4:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend, including anyone interested in trying the new hearing loop.” (See https://charlottetown.ca/news/current_news/access_improved_at_city_hall)
Step 7: Post Signage
The last step in the installation was to post signs advising that the hearing loop was installed. A brochure on the ways to access a hearing loop was provided. (See The Let’s Loop PEI Project – How You Can Access An Area With A Hearing Loop for this same information.)
The Counter Loop
The City of Charlottetown went further than looping the council chambers, by deciding to install a counter loop at the reception desk and billing desk. While work is still progressing on the counter loop at the billing desk, the counter loop at the reception desk is installed.
ohn Donahoe and Jennifer Gavin of the City of Charlottetown look at a sample counter loop for the billing desk with Bill Droogendyk. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)
Annie Lee MacDonald tests out the counter loop at the reception desk, using OTOjOY earbuds and an app on her iPhone. Tom Barnes, Bill Droogendyk, and receptionist Darlene Rice wait for her reaction. Success! (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)
Our thanks to the volunteers, CHHA Foundation, City of Charlottetown, and to Bill and Wilma Droogendyk of Better Hearing Solutions for making these installations possible.
You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on this blog. You can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI
Follow this link to places on PEI equipped with a hearing loop: Places on PEI Equipped With A Hearing Loop
Like the work we do? Consider a donation to help us do more. 100% of your donation stays on PEI to help Islanders. We now have a page at the Canada Helps website: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34708
© Daria Valkenburg