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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Loss of UVic dog park deals a blow to socially anxious pets

Owners of non-socialized dogs seek safe space following closure of Cedar Hill Corner

Residents around Sidney’s Reay Creek Pond welcome federal remediation efforts

It is not clear yet whether Sidney will renovate nearby dam at the same time

Public to weigh in on Colwood Royal Bay development Monday

Application to rezone lands north of Latoria Boulevard submitted to council

Camp fun still offered in Greater Victoria

Easter Seals offers day camp options to replace cancelled overnight camps

Swim advisory issued at Cadboro Bay beach due to high bacteria levels

Island Health advises against water activities, swimming

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

Most Read