City council failed to pass an amendment that would have put a time limit on handicapped parking stalls. Photo: Tyler Harper

Handicapped parking changes deferred

A bylaw amendment would have put a time limit on handicapped stalls

Proposed changes to handicapped parking hit a roadblock Monday.

City council passed three readings of bylaw that aimed to free up stalls being used by one car throughout the day, which the city had received complaints about.

Vehicles with handicap permits are currently allowed to park for free at metered stalls. The amended bylaw would remove that exemption, and restrict handicapped stalls to two hours of use.

Councillor Michael Dailly however had second thoughts about the bylaw and opposed it at final adoption. He was joined by Anna Purcell and Robin Cherbo, while Mayor Deb Kozak and councillors Bob Adams and Valerie Warmington favoured the changes.

“My thoughts were that it was too much change all at once,” said Dailly. “We’ve got a lot going on and this is just one more thing. I heard from a number of people from different sectors that it was something that was going to impact people adversely.

“I don’t think we try to fix parking spots by trying to create some more commercial parking on the backs of people who have handicaps. I’m going to assume everyone with a handicap sticker is someone who needs it and ignore that if you have one and you don’t need it, don’t be using it.”

Monday’s vote isn’t the end of the issue. A final decision will now wait for the vote of councillor Janice Morrison, who is expected back to City Hall next week. City staff meanwhile were directed to do more consultation on the amendment prior to the next debate.

A staff review of downtown parking availability in 2016 found handicapped stalls were only 50 per cent occupied in comparison to metered stalls.

The bylaw amendment also included regulations for the newly installed paid parking kiosk at Baker and Hall Streets. But because of the failed vote, that kiosk can’t be enforced by bylaw officers for the time being.