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It’s Just Not Fair to Them: Wellesley Man Noticing Disturbing Trend of People Wrongfully Parking in Handicap Spots at Wilmot Recreation Complex

Happens more frequently during New Hamburg Firebirds games
News Dec 13, 2019 by Namish Modi – New Hamburg Independent|

A local resident is concerned with a disturbing trend he continues to see at the Wilmot Recreation Complex.

Carl Richardson, who resides just outside Wellesley, is a frequent user of the WRC where he takes aqua classes. He says that ever since he’s been using the pool and even more recently, he has noticed that cars have been parking in handicap parking spots without a permit.

Richardson has taken the issue on himself and has been in contact with bylaw at Wilmot Township to get it corrected.

“All I really want isn’t for people to get tickets, not for people to get fines, but just be considerate of other people.” said Richardson, in an interview with the Independent at the WRC on Dec. 12.

Richardson has seen it happen frequently and says it’s more common on busier weeknights when more activities are taking place at the complex. He said it’s happened during New Hamburg Firebirds games as well.

He described instances where people either don’t have accessibility stickers, or they do but appear not to need them.

“Right now, we’re getting winter, and people with disabilities are going to have to walk further, and it’s just not fair to them,” said Richardson.

He says he even knows someone that has stopped coming to the WRC because of the persisting issue. There are 12 accessibility parking spots on the Highway 7-facing side of the WRC and six on the back side for a total of 18.

Richardson has been in contact with manager of municipal enforcement Erin Merritt, who has made it a point of patrolling the WRC more this week and planned to do so during the Dec. 13 Firebirds game.

In an interview with the Independent, Merritt confirmed her discussions with Richardson and says that municipal enforcement will be keeping an eye on the situation, again mentioning the Firebirds game.

“It’s always of concern. We want everyone to be able to access the WRC and use it in the community and if people, especially in the winter, have mobility issues and do have these permits, those are people that should be using the spots,” said Merritt.

On Dec. 12, Richardson noticed that two of the signs for accessible parking spots were removed (the painted spots were still present). In this case, Merritt explained that municipal enforcement isn’t allowed to issue fines for people parking in the accessible parking spaces if there is no sign present, despite them being marked by paint.

Director of facilities and recreation services Scott Nancekivell said permanent metal posts were removed because they were damaged. He said temporary signs will go up next week (Dec. 16-20) while a permanent solution will be implemented in the spring.

by Namish Modi

Namish Modi is a news reporter for the New Hamburg Independent with more than five years experience in journalism.

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