Trend sends wrong message

Resident upset that handicapped parking spaces aren't available

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here is a new trend I see happening. First it was parking spots for parent and child beside accessibility spots (handicap parking). Now I have spotted two places which have done this with their accessibility parking: handicap/parent and child parking.

The Social Planning and Research Council of B.C. (SPARC B.C.) writes: “Designated parking allows people with disabilities to have access to buildings and services in the community. People who qualify for parking permits either need the extra width of the designated spaces to get in and out of their vehicles when using a wheelchair, crutches, a cane or other mobility aid, or need to park close to a building entrance because their health prevents them from walking very far.”

The Vernon health unit is now inaccessible for me and my daughter who is in a wheelchair.

The other day, I came to the health unit and was unable to park and left. Disabled parking is now also parent parking.

I have a wheelchair van with a side ramp and I can’t use another spot. I need that wide spot.

Parents with their children outnumber the disabled considerably.

I can see how some may think these spots sit empty often, but they need to sit empty some of the time so when people who need them come they are there for them.

People who need these spots must have a physician fill out the needed paper work and pay a fee for a placard that enables them to use these spots.

What are the underlying messages here?

• Children are a disability; this is an awful message our children and youth are getting

• People with handicaps don’t really need accessibility parking, they can find another way to access services, stores, and facilities or

• We (store, facility) don’t care if people with disabilities are patrons here

What is the point of this?

I have been told it is completely up to the business or facility.

I hope businesses and facilities will reconsider and think more about the message you are sending to the public, especially children and youth.

It took years of work to make our community more accessible to all — please don’t step backwards in time.

Finally, for businesses, make your handicap parking wide, as normal parking spots marked as handicap spots don’t work for us with wheelchairs.

Lastly for all of those who think it is OK to park in handicap parking without an issued disability parking permit, even for a few minutes, it is not.

It is actually an offence under section 38.08 of the Motor Vehicle Act.

Again it sends a message to our children and youth that people with disabilities don’t count and need not be respected.

Don’t think nobody sees you, we do.

Liz Rezanson

Vernon