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

Accessible parking not optional, councillor says after province removes regulations

B.C. provincial government changing building code requirements to municipality-based

Municipalities across B.C. are now in charge of setting accessible parking standards for new developments.

Since the province passed the responsibility to individual municipalities on Dec. 10, councillors in Victoria are already concerned about how this will affect the amount of accessible parking — and the people who use it.

Coun. Marianne Alto said access to parking is a “basic human rights” issue for people who have mobility restrictions and may require accessible parking.

“I think it’s incumbent on all of us to make sure we do everything we can,” Alto said.

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

The policy will not affect existing parking spaces or applications in process, but will apply to all residential and commercial developments going forward. Until Dec. 10, the building code was regulated on a provincial level and required at least one accessible parking spot for each building that has parking, with standards for dimensions and the surfacing.

A motion put forward by Alto and Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe noted many municipalities are not prepared, as many do not have bylaws about accessible parking. Alto said they have concerns about how the new policy could affect city planning, responding to land use applications and consistency city to city.

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

“That’s the root of some of our concerns, because when you’re building something new, that’s the opportunity that you have to make sure you have accessibility for people who need their vehicles in order to help them get around,” Alto said. “It’s a lot easier to do that when you’re building something from scratch, when you’re starting out rather than to try and retrofit something. Losing this requirement could be quite significant.”

Alto and Thornton-Joe will put forward the motion in the Committee of the Whole meeting on Thursday, Dec. 13, and direct city staff to investigate what this change will mean for Victoria. The motion also asks Mayor Lisa Helps to write a letter to the province and express council’s reservations about the new policy.

Alto said it would have been nice to have a heads up when the province decided to shift the responsibility onto the municipalities.

“I don’t believe anybody reached out to the City to say this is what’s happening. We learned about it fairly recently,” Alto said.

READ MORE: City of Victoria responds to blind community’s B.C. Human Rights Tribunal case


@KeiliBartlett
keili.bartlett@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Saanich’s 20-year-old acting mayor encourages other young people get involved in politics

There is a ‘hunger for young voices’ in politics right now

Designs for Johnson Street Bridge waterfront areas hit delays

Upgrades to the Songhees Park, surrounding area being presented Thursday

Personal health scare inspires Sidney’s newest gym

Arne Jackson said the scare was a ‘wake-up call’

Supplemental information for SD63 students circulates as strike appears close to end

Letters were sent to families of SD63 students late last week

Abortions rights advocates urge Liberals to turn politics into policy

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was pressed to clarify his stance abortion over several weeks

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

Closing arguments begin in B.C. case launched in 2009 over private health care

Dr. Day said he illegally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in 1996 in order to create more operating-room time

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Poole’s Land finale: Tofino’s legendary ‘hippie commune’ being dismantled

Series of land-use fines inspire owner Michael Poole to sell the roughly 20-acre property.

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Most Read