A Wendy’s restaurant in Fredericton is drawing some heat for cutting the number of disabled parking spaces in its parking lot from two to one.
At least one customer has already complained to the owner of the fast-food joint on Prospect Street. Graham Neill is a regular at the Wendy’s and says one of the disabled parking stalls wasn’t repainted recently.
"I inquired from the owner, 'Why haven't you done it?,’” said Neill, who uses a cane and has a permit to leave his car in disabled parking zones.
“And I fired off a comment to Wendy's about it. I got the response that they didn't need it, and that one was plenty."
A City of Fredericton bylaw states businesses with between 25 and 50 parking spaces must provide two disabled spots. This Wendy's has 38 parking spaces.
The chair of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission says no matter what the law is, it makes business sense to have as many disabled parking spots as possible.
"Christmas season, you're going to have the company Christmas dinner,” Randy Dickinson said. “If you can't get in the restaurant or have a place to park for the one staff member who might be using the wheelchair, that establishment might lose the business for 50 or 60 other people who would be buying dinner at the same time."
Dickinson said New Brunswick has the second highest rate of people with disabilities in the country.
The owner of the Wendy’s spoke with CBC News on Friday, and said he will do whatever is required by law.
Neill said he’s still a customer at the Wendy’s, but questions the priorities of the restaurant.
"When I go in there and I see that the one handicapped parking space is occupied, I think long and hard about whether I want to go back in there if they're not going to take care of their handicapped customers," Neill said.