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

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Oak Bay father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

Victoria Conservatory of Music bursary fund reaches $1M mark

The Eric and Shirley Charman Bursary Fund launched in 2017

Sealand was much more than killer whales, says ex-employee

Former Sealasd trainer revisits Sealand of the Pacific in talk

Residents say Monday’s fatal crash in Saanich wasn’t unexpected

Speed has long been a concern for neighbours in the Cumberland and Union roads area

UPDATED: Hundreds gather to reflect and remember UVic students killed in bus crash

Campus community invited to reflect, support one another

WATCH: United Way #Drive4Five event launches campaign to raise $5 million

More than 80,000 lives changed last year by the United Way

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Man who crushed Nanaimo RCMP cars with stolen truck gets more jail time

Majore Jackson, 34, sentenced to two more years in jail in provincial court in Nanaimo

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

Bear killed in Kimberley after chasing girl, wreaking havoc on town

This particular brown-coloured bear has been the subject of many calls this summer; very food habituated, CO says

Most Read