Disabled parking enforcement demanded by advocates
B.C. advocacy group creates special position to handle the complaints
Motorists taking parking spots reserved for the disabled has become such a problem a provincial advocacy group has created a special position to educate people and deal with the complaints.
"People just drive in there and you can't really do much about it. The security people should be enforcing it but nobody is enforcing it- Ravinder Dhillon
Karen Williams, the Manager of Accessibility Initiatives with the Social Planning and Research Council of B.C says the agency created her position a few months ago and set up a special tip line to deal with disabled parking abuse.
"If people aren't able to access spots when they go looking for them, they can't fully participate in the community."
Ravinder Dhillon works at the Richmond Centre for Disability where she hears a steady stream of complaints about parking. At least once a week when she heads out grocery shopping she says she has to drive in circles looking for a place to park.
"People just drive in there and you can't really do much about it. The security people should be enforcing it but nobody is enforcing it. Nowadays you can't even approach somebody because you don't know if they're going to be abusive...like what kind of language they're going to use"
Williams says penalties in B.C. range from $50 to $100 depending on the municipality, and points to Washington state where fines are as high as $400.
With files from Robert Zimmerman