A commercial parking zone in front of a Hampshire Road business serving many elderly people makes no sense to one Victoria man, who has asked Oak Bay to change the zone.
When Ted Dew-Jones drives his wife, Meg, to her appointments at McNeill Audiology, she often must make a long trek using her walker to the hearing specialists. Street parking directly in front is currently restricted to commercial parking. Adjacent parking beneath the library is challenging because the slope is too steep for the walker, Dew-Jones said. While the elevator would alleviate the slope, it would mean a much longer walk.
Dew-Jones has asked Oak Bay to move the commercial parking to another location, suggesting a little farther down Hampshire would allow seniors easier access to their appointments. “It’s hard to imagine a more ridiculous place to reserve for a truck because you can’t park anywhere,” he said.
McNeill audiologist Edward Storzer acknowledges parking is at a premium in the village and that many businesses rely on commercial deliveries.
“I think what would be ideal is if would be if we could see some kind of handicapped parking closer to the offices,” he said. “Many of my clients have mobility issues because we deal with a lot of elderly clients.”
Dew-Jones first wrote to the municipality in October requesting the parking change. Staff told him the authority to change parking restrictions resides with council, and that upon requesting that the matter come before committee of the whole for discussion, staff would be directed to prepare a report for committee consideration.
Mayor Nils Jensen confirmed staff is looking into the parking concern, but also needed input from the Oak Bay Business Improvement Association, which doesn’t meet again until April.
Jensen also noted that McNeill Audiology has parking spots in the rear of the building that could be allocated for patient use if needed. Once the BIA has sought input from its members, municipal staff will prepare a report that Jensen expects to come before committee of the whole in May, depending on the BIA’s timeline.
BIA president Liz Smith said she has not received any other complaints regarding accessibility for McNeill Audiology and that the commercial zone is very heavily used. “There’s very little commercial loading in the village and we would hate to see that go,” she said, noting she hears often about commercial drivers who find delivering to Oak Bay challenging.