Halifax disability rights advocate wants stiffer fines, better signage for accessible parking

Click to play video: 'Halifax accessibility advocates want illegal parking fines doubled'
Halifax accessibility advocates want illegal parking fines doubled
WATCH: A disability rights advocate wants to see fines double for illegal parking in accessible spots in Halifax. He says too often delivery drivers stop in them, while some Haligonians just don't realize they're reserved. Skye Bryden-Blom reports – Jan 4, 2023

A Halifax disability rights advocate wants drivers who abuse accessible parking spaces to face steeper fines and for the signs showing they’re reserved to be more clear.

Paul Vienneau says accessible parking in his neighbourhood around Spring Garden Road is already limited. But now he often sees delivery drivers pulling into them to carry out their orders.

Paul Vienneau, Disability Rights Advocate. Skye Bryden-Blom/Global News

He explains just stopping in an accessible parking spot for a few minutes can have a big impact on the people who rely on them.

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“You know, nobody is going to immediately die from not being able to do this, but what will happen — it’s happened to me — they’ll give up trying to do these things and it leads to staying home and not taking part in your own life,” Vienneau says.

Read more: Bell faces human rights complaint over allegations of inaccessibility for blind customers

He wants to see the $100 fine double.

“In some cities in America, it’s $700. I think if we doubled it to $200, this would make it a little more of a discouragement and people would go ‘maybe I shouldn’t do that’,” he says.

Parking Services Director Victoria Horne says the city shares his frustration and would also like to see the fines increase.

“We continue to work with the province on that, but there hasn’t been a movement as of yet,” she says. “Instead, staff are looking at existing legislation — within the summary offence fine category — to see if there are existing options to make that penalty greater.”

An accessible parking sign in Halifax. Skye Bryden-Blom/Global News

She adds that in the last year, accessible parking tickets in the city have increased by 52 per cent.

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In a statement, the Nova Scotia Department of Public Works says it’s an important issue and they’re looking at what they can do to address it.

“We want to ensure that our roads are safe and accessible and that our Traffic Safety Act serves the needs of all Nova Scotians,” the statement says. “We can commit to examining fine levels related to illegal parking in accessible parking spaces.”

Read more: Saskatoon reviews accessible parking in downtown area

Vienneau adds it’s not just about the fine. Another issue he points to is the signage in the city for accessible parking. He says the symbol showing spaces are reserved is too tiny on signposts.

“Maybe it’s like reflective blue, accessible blue, with the wheelchair symbol guy larger, much larger,” he suggests.

He also wants to see an education campaign launch for Nova Scotians to ensure they know the signs and their meaning when cruising through the city.

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