Disabilities Association: Stop parking in handicap spots

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The Association for Persons with Disabilities is taking a firm stand against people who insist on occupying parking spaces designated for these individuals.
President of the association, Bernard Warner describes the respect for these protected spaces as being in a “state of crisis” as people continue to “indiscriminately” park in handicap parking areas.
“We have been getting complaints from members that when they go shopping or town it is so difficult for them to find parking,” he explained.
The activist said that his organisation has been trying to work with the police force and transport board to remedy the problem but has seen little progress in arresting it.
“So, we decided to begin to raise awareness and show the public and the world… and to garner the support to drive the policies to ensure that disability parking spaces are being respected,” he said.
Warner and other members of the association have taken to social media to make their plight known, whilst giving a face to the perpetrators through at least one Facebook live video recording.
In the video, Warner pulls up behind another vehicle that has parked in a handicap space at the Woods shopping centre and attempts, along with a colleague, to explain the need to stop “abusing handicap spaces.”
As the recording goes on, the driver of the vehicle, who is notably upset, responds with expletives and demands to be let out.
The sign at the handicap space said that one can be asked to pay a fine of $500 for inappropriately using the space, which is next to a ramp.
The video has since been viewed over 21,000 times, and while most have been supportive of the move calling it ‘activism,’ others have levelled threatening remarks.
The head of the Association for Persons with Disabilities said he has been doing the same across St. John’s and recounted instances where people were “rude” when they were confronted.
But Warner resolved that he would not be dissuaded from standing up for the rights of the disabled.
“In one of the videos I did at CMC (Central Marketing Corporation) a young lady attacked me and tried to take my phone away from me,” he added. “Yes, I am fearful… but the awareness is what I am trying to raise but sometimes things happen in the midst of war and advocacy and the consequence is what it is….”
The president is hoping that as time progresses, the police and the Transport Board would be more proactive in preserving the spaces for when people with disabilities need them.
“We need the police and government to come out and say it as it is, that if you are caught parking in the handicap parking you’ll be charged,” he maintained.
While many private entities have demarcated spots at their establishments for individuals with various disabilities to park, the police force is responsible for allocating these areas in public spaces.

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