With a substantial upgrade in the works for Lake Cowichan’s Centennial Park, a local resident has expressed concern with the lack of handicap parking available both there and at Saywell Park – though the town has yet to address the issue.
Lake Cowichan resident David Ridley was present at the past two regular town council meetings (July 28 and August 25) to inquire about the issue. He said that his concern surrounds possible issues within Centennial Park, which would hinder the accessibility of the park for some seniors or others with disabilities. With the upgrades, enabled by a recent $500,000 grant from the federal government, on the way, some residents may be unable to take advantage of the new benefits.
The Centennial Park upgrade also coincides with a recent mobility audit, conducted by the town’s age-friendly action plan committee as part of an initiative to make the town more accessible for seniors. James van Hemert, the town’s contract planner, said that the audit did not include a survey of handicap parking available in the town.
“Generally speaking, the only time I look at it is when we have construction of a new place like Tim Horton’s,” Van Hemert said. “We considered walking and scooters as opposed to cars [during the audit], but that doesn’t mean it’s not relevant.”
Joe Fernandez, the town’s CAO, expressed concern that an expansion of handicap parking spaces within the town would need to be done selectively in order to satisfy all residents.
“There’s only limited parking to begin with in the main areas of town, we need to accommodate the needs of everyone,” he said. “People make requests, so that’s something we have to satisfy.”
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