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

Monday rings in partial return of school across Saanich Peninsula

Saanich School District reopening of schools comes with revised health measures

B.C. Conservation kills bear in Langford amid growing problem of habituation

Officer demands garbage lockdown for residents in bear territory

Killing of Discovery Island wolf was legal, says BC Conservation Service

Takaya was shot and killed by hunters on March 24

Police enforce school zone speed limits as Greater Victoria students return to class

Saanich police on the lookout for speeders outside Glanford Middle School

Anti-racism rally takes to the streets of downtown Victoria

Vigil for George Floyd planned at B.C. Legislature for 7 p.m.

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

COVID-19 birthday drive-by celebrations snuffed out in Island community

Bylaw officer visit with threats of a fine mean parade trucks taken off the road

Vancouver Island Regional Libraries to offer ‘takeout’ style services

VIRL will offer the service on a branch-by-branch basis

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

B.C. Hockey League prepping for 2020-21

League reviewing different scenarios and start times in compliance with provincial regulations

Duncan’s Queen Margaret’s School pioneers thermal imaging in school reopening

Private school is first in B.C. to use new tech post-COVID-19

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Most Read