01/10/2014 02:52 EST | Updated 03/12/2014 05:59 EDT

Disabled Parking Enforcement Demanded By Advocates

Motorists taking parking spots reserved for the disabled has become such a problem a provincial advocacy group has created a special position to educate people and deal with the complaints. 

Karen Williams, the Manager of Accessibility Initiatives with the Social Planning and Research Council of B.C says the agency created her position a few months ago and set up a special tip line to deal with disabled parking abuse. 

"If people aren't able to access spots when they go looking for them,  they can't fully participate in the community."

Ravinder Dhillon works at the Richmond Centre for Disability where she hears a steady stream of complaints about parking. At least once a week when she heads out grocery shopping she says she has to drive in circles looking for a place to park.

"People just drive in there and you can't really do much about it. The security people should be enforcing it but nobody is enforcing it. Nowadays you can't even approach somebody because you don't know if they're going to be what kind of language they're going to use."

SPARC says penalties are relatively minor in BC  and points to Washington State where fines are as high as $400 or more.

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