Pat Kayll at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre on Oct. 30, 2019. - Cloe Logan Photo

Pat Kayll at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre on Oct. 30, 2019. - Cloe Logan Photo

Qualicum Beach: Accessible parking versus car-charging station

Woman frustrated after loss of spot at civic centre

Qualicum Beach’s Pat Kayll believes having a parking permit for people with disabilities should provide accessibility.

But Kayll said she believes this isn’t always the case, especially at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre, where she said there isn’t enough to go around. The centre is the third-largest parking area in town and went down an accessible parking spot in early 2019 to make room for an electric vehicle charging station.

Kayll wrote to the town recently, expressing her frustration and calling parking at the centre “lacking and not well-placed.”

She pointed to the loss of accessible parking at the centre as especially frustrating. She’s also worried about winter and the additional accessibility challenges cold weather brings.

READ MORE: Parking demand in Qualicum Beach addressed

“Almost every time in the morning when I come, this is taken,” she said, pointing to the accessible spots closest to the centre.

Kayll said it’s a pressing issue, especially given the older demographics of the town and the increasing population. Sandra Hobson, chairwoman of Access Oceanside, agreed.

“The fact is, in our community, that’s probably not enough,” said Hobson about the number of accessible parking spots in Qualicum Beach. “We are an aging community, some people will age with disability, but many will age into disability.”

CAO Daniel Sailland said the city needs to balance the needs of electric charging stations with accessible parking — both of which are increasing with new families and seniors moving to the area. The town now has a total of a dozen charging stations, and plans to introduce two more at the museum parking lot.

“There’s undoubtedly going to be some discussion and some possible changes there,” he said about the Civic Centre.

In terms of replacing the lost parking spot, Sailland said the town will look at how they can bring it back in a similar location.

Luke Sales, director of planning for Qualicum Beach, said in terms of anything changing at the Civic Centre, the RDN and Qualicum Beach would have to work together since it’s shared property between the two government bodies.

“We are in discussion with the Regional District of Nanaimo who own and operate Ravensong Aquatic Centre, we’re in discussions with them about the reconfiguration of potentially that building and some of the parking around,” he said. “In the future we will be looking at trying to make the handicap stalls as convenient as possible.”

Sales said the town will consider Kayll’s points.

“The first step would be an evaluation of the usage of our current handicap stalls because that would give us the information we need to make a decision about where they should be in the future,” said Sales.

Qualicum Beach does an annual accessibility review, during which Sailland said he heard other concerns about accessibility in the community.

“I wouldn’t say we get complaints, so much as we go around with a group and identify areas that can improve and every year we try and improve on and try and hit some of those targets that are within our budget ,” he said. “I think the largest complaint that we tend to get, which is one that we’re working on, is when we have handicap areas making sure those handicap parking areas are right by or right on let-downs.”

Sailland said the town gets “a handful, a half-dozen or so a year” complaints related to accessibility.

“That said, we do aim for a higher standard,” said Sailland. “Just with our demographic we know that mobility is always a challenge so if we can aim for that higher standard in a cost-effective way and a balanced way where we’re gradually advancing and meeting the needs over time, then we’re really building for all ages.”

Hobson said it’s important to note that because Qualicum Beach is an aging community, there’s a variety of disabilities that people experience — some visible, some not. She said there are many people who need to be considered when making decisions around accessible parking.

“I understand, you know, the climate crisis, the need to move to more accessible, move environmentally friendly vehicles and public electric charging stations are a great move,” said Hobson. “But they shouldn’t come at the cost of the needs of people who make up a fairly large proportion of the taxpayers in this region.”

cloe.logan@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach resident Harold MacDougall won $75,000 off a Casino Royale II Scratch & Win ticket, purchased the ticket at Qualicum Foods on Memorial Avenue. (BCLC photo)
Qualicum Beach man $75K richer thanks to scratch-and-win ticket windfall

MacDougall plans on trips to Cape Breton and Scotland

Regional District of Nanaimo will be receiving $1.17 million from the B.C. government in COVID-19 safe restart grant money. (News Bulletin file)
Regional District of Nanaimo directors getting started on budgeting decisions

Proposed tax requisitions for 2021 range from 7.3-per cent increase to 2.2-per cent decrease

David Darmadi, owner of Kalvas - The Log House restaurant, is offering a sweet initiative for SOS. Guests can bring in a new, unwrapped gift or financial donation for SOS, and receive a free dessert. (Lissa Alexander photo)
Sweet initiative to support Parksville Qualicum Beach residents

‘A lot of our guests are very generous and they want to help out’

The property at 113 and 161 Island Highway is currently being dismantled as the developer attempts to salvage ‘usable’ lumber for their development application to the City of Parksville. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Development application delayed for high-profile Parksville property

Council refers application to staff for further improvements

(File photo)
RCMP warn of counterfeit bill use in Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Police have received four calls in November regarding bogus bills

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Penny Hart is emotional outside the Saanich Police Department as she pleads for helpt to find her son Sean Hart last seen Nov. 6 at a health institution in Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: Mother of missing Saanich man begs public to help find her son

Sean Hart last seen leaving Saanich mental health facility Nov. 6

Most Read