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Handicap spaces should go to those who need them most – Nanaimo News Bulletin

For the editor,

I have been disabled since 2020 – the guy who had a motorcycle accident on Hammond Bay Road on Easter Monday. I now have less of a left leg. It was my favorite leg.

As a disabled person, I am constantly frustrated with the overabundance of dozens of disabled parking spaces designed for people like me – which are always full of people who don’t look like me.

Of course, many people have imperceptible reasons for needing a disabled parking space, but it is quite obvious that this privilege – or more precisely “necessity” – is not a real necessity for the majority of those occupying the necessary parking spaces.

After two years of parking in these designated spots, I have yet to meet another person in a wheelchair. What I saw were hundreds of people parking up, hanging up their permits and walking straight into the mall or supermarket without any medical help. No cane, no walker, no crutches and certainly no wheelchair.

The eligibility requirements in the permit application are as follows: the applicant has a disability that affects their mobility and ability to walk specifically, the applicant cannot walk 100 meters without risk to their health, and/or the applicant requires the use of an aid to cover any distance.

We all know that crossing one of the buildings mentioned above is like walking a few kilometers on the course or going shopping.

I have now got into the habit of checking parking permits on passenger vehicles. You guessed it, lots of expired permits, falsified permits, new holes drilled under a later year’s date, etc. Even after losing my leg, I only got a permit for one year.

I would like the police to park their car at the edge of the big box store parking lot and inspect the permits of every driver parking in a handicapped cab. I bet they’d run over dozens of people in a day. So far, this violation has no consequences. Nobody checks, nobody writes tickets, and those who really need the spaces end up driving until one opens.

When I look at the person parked in the handicapped spot next to me, they can’t even look me in the eye as I pull out my wheelchair. In that moment, you can see their consciousness awaken to what a “real” disabled person looks like as they walk away, unaided, to go shopping.

Nathaniel Olson, Nanaimo


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