David Willows wrote a 53-page audit of Victoria’s accessible on-street parking downtown. (Keili Bartlett/News staff)

Victoria dad laments loss of provincial accessible parking standards

Push for CRD to address regional parking standards

With councillors in Victoria already questioning the province’s decision to make B.C. municipalities responsible for accessible parking standards at new developments, the father of a child who uses a wheelchair echoes their concerns.

“In the Capital Region, we’ve got 13 districts — that’s 13 possible different standards for those that even have them,” David Willows said.

But as of Dec. 10, none of them have a requirement for new developments in CRD to have accessible parking, although the Town of Sidney references the BC Building Code in its design standards. While there is a National Building Code, in B.C. it only applied to federally regulated property.

READ MORE: Accessible parking not optional, councillor says after province removes regulations

The province’s previous standard to have one accessible parking stall for new developments wasn’t enough even before it was discontinued on Dec. 10, Willows said.

“First we need to recognize the provincial standard for accessible parking was poor,” he said. “But it gave us a minimum benchmark to work from. When you take a standard like that away, you’re telling people with disabilities that your ability to access the community isn’t a priority for the government. They’re not taking responsibility.”

In his research, Willows found Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador all have accessible parking included in either their provincial building code or accessibility legislation.

READ MORE: B.C. needs Disability Act: Victoria council

“Having it regulated at a provincial level is not uncommon in Canada,” Willows said.

Earlier this year, Willows did his own assessment of accessible on-street parking in downtown Victoria, where he found some of the parking spots allotted didn’t exist. Of the accessible spaces he found, Willows said most couldn’t be used by people with disabilities. It was during this review that Willows heard about the amendment to the B.C. Building Code’s accessible parking standards.

READ and WATCH MORE: Only half of Victoria’s accessible parking meets basic standards: report

While the public review process for the changes began on Dec. 12, 2017, Willows said Section 3.8 — which included the amendment to accessible parking — was not available to read or comment on until Jan. 24, 2018. The public review period closed just over a month later on Feb. 28.

“Basically, for the accessibility section, we were given less than half the time of the remainder of the code to provide feedback to the ministry of housing on the proposed code changes,” Willows said.

Councillor Marianne Alto and Charlayne Thornton-Joe will be putting forward their motion for staff to examine what the new policy will mean to the CRD. In an interview with Black Press Media before the Dec. 13 council meeting, Alto said the City of Victoria had only found out recently about the change.

Willows will also be speaking at council on Thursday. He said he supports the councillors’ motion.

“I think it’s important for communities to let the province know they don’t think this is appropriate. There are certain standards that the province does need to maintain,” he said.

In the new year, Willows and MLA Adam Olsen will also be meeting with representatives from the Ministry of Housing to discuss their concerns.

“We are not looking for pity, we are looking for the tools we need to be able to have equitable access and the ability to be active and engaged members of the community,” Willows said. “Physical accessibility of the built environment is one key element to this.”

READ MORE: Victoria Disability Resource Centre helps people find jobs


@KeiliBartlett
keili.bartlett@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

B.C. mom, kids on bike turned away from Tim Hortons drive-thru

Car-free for years, Charity Millar ‘felt gross’ being denied service

The Salvation Army rings in Christmas Kettle Campaign in Victoria

Goal is to raise $250,000 this year for Vancouver Island residents needing support

Body found in Central Saanich waste recycling facility deemed non-suspicious

Coroners Service investigating circumstances of death

Saanich mom on a bike turned away in Tim Hortons drive-thru

Car-free for years, Charity Millar ‘felt gross’ being denied service

West Shore RCMP spend four hours searching for roving hikers

RCMP say stay put once you’ve called for help and listen to instructions

POLL: Do you plan on making any purchases on Black Friday?

We’ve all seen the images. Shoppers rioting outside of a store in… Continue reading

B.C. to advocate for frustrated, confused, unhappy cellphone users, says premier

Maple Ridge New Democrat Bob D’Eith to advocate for more affordable and transparent cellphone options

B.C. man who killed Belgian tourist near Boston Bar gets life in prison, no parole until 2042

Sean McKenzie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of 28-year-old Amelie Christelle Sakkalis

‘Very disrespectful’: B.C. first responder irked by motorists recording collisions on cellphones

Central Cariboo Search and Rescue deputy chief challenges motorists to break the habit

Daily cannabis linked to reduction in opioid use: B.C. researchers

Researchers looked at a group of 1,152 people in Vancouver who reported substance use and chronic pain

Port Alberni rallies for mill workers

Fundraisers helping ease the sting of five months without work

Island student lobbies school board for dress code consistency

Jaylene Kuo contacted school trustees after seeing dress guidelines at brother’s school

Most Read