PEI

Disability group protest exposes parking spot abuse on P.E.I.

Members of the P.E.I. Council of People with Disabilities hoped to send a message to those abusing designated parking spots with a protest held Sunday.

'Here we are building awareness and people are still behaving badly'

Messages like these were left on wheelchairs and walkers across the parking lot on Sunday. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

Members of the P.E.I. Council of People with Disabilities hoped to send a message to those abusing designated parking spots with a protest held on Sunday.

The peaceful protest took place in the parking lot of the Sobeys in Stratford with wheelchairs and walkers taking the more "valuable" non-designated spots closer to the door, says Marcia Carroll, executive director of the council. 

Sobeys allowed the council to perform the demonstration in the parking lot.

Here we are putting wheelchairs out, building awareness and people are still behaving badly.—Marcia Carroll

Demonstrators stuck signs to the chairs that read "I'll just be a minute" or "I sprained my ankle so I'm entitled," hoping to expose some of the excuses people use when parking in the designated spots.

"Those are the messages that we hear everyday from people who have been confronted about using a designated spot," Carroll said.

"Some people actually believe that people with disabilities are getting all the good parking spots."

'Equal rights are just that: equal rights'

Roughly 15 chairs and walkers took up spots across the lot.

According to Carroll, during their demonstration someone even tried to park in one of the designated spots without a permit.

"Here we are putting wheelchairs out, building awareness and people are still behaving badly," she said.

Marcia Carroll, executive director of the council, says she hears messages daily about people confronted for taking designated parking spots. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

When able-bodied people take the designated parking spots, Carroll added, it dramatically affects how someone with a disability can navigate in their community.

She hopes the protest, which forced some to stop, look and walk longer distances, was an eye opener for those knowingly taking spots they shouldn't park in.

Though the group used walkers and wheelchairs for the protest, Carroll said the designated spots are also for many other people, including those visually impaired. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

​"Equal rights are just that: equal rights. It's not special rights," she said.

"If you're able bodied, and can park and walk across the parking lot, why would you use a designated spot."

With files from Nicole Williams

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