Paying a price for accessibility

Resident takes issue with increased handicapped parking permits

At the beginning of the new year, any permits that expire Dec. 31 must be renewed in January. Therefore, I dutifully go to Vernon city hall to renew my handicapped parking permit.

The cashier informs me the permit cost has increased 100 per cent from $24 to $48 as of the Feb. 10 city council meeting.

That is quite a jump in cost as these new permits were only instituted two years ago when the City of Vernon had an accessibility advisory committee.

Last year, Vernon council voted to dissolve the accessibility advisory committee and this year, it voted to increase permit costs 100 per cent.

I am naturally curious as to the reason for the increase. Checking with the city cashier, she confirms for me that there has not been a rush on sales of these permits.

None of the downtown  merchants tell me there been a great influx of handicapped shoppers taking advantage of the parking options.

The next suggestion that I get is, ‘’someone  should write a letter.’’

There are three basic requirements that qualify a person for this permit.

The driver must have a handicapped parking placard that costs $15. This placard does not restrict the holder to handicapped designated spaces.

The driver must have a valid B.C. driver’s licence.

The driver must be unable to activate  the parking meter themselves.

These permits are very specific and  it means that without the permit, the driver must find some helpful person on the street to insert the coins or they take the chance that the bylaw compliance officer does not show.

In great sunny weather and if they are not in a hurry this can be a challenge, in less than optimum conditions it would  be somewhat different.

Ask yourself how long you would wait?

I do banking and other business on main street 15 to 20 minutes per stop, possibly three or four times per month, certainly no long-term shopping and I would definitely not require $48 in parking for the year.

This permit is not cheap parking. It is so we won’t be penalized twice for being in a wheelchair or not being able to access the parking meters.

Thanks to Mayor Akbal Mund and Vernon council,  I did not renew my handicapped parking permit this year.

If you see a myself or another person having challenges with the new,  improved and more expensive parking meters, or trying to remove a violation notice from their windshield wiper, by all means offer some assistance.

Serle Schoenberger,

Past-chairperson of the Accessibility

Advisory Committee, Vernon


Vernon Morning Star