New ac­ces­si­bil­ity reg­u­la­tions take ef­fect Sept. 30

Fines of up to $25,000 could be im­posed for vi­o­lat­ing rules

The Compass - - ORTHTE -

Sept. 30 is the dead­line for busi­ness own­ers and op­er­a­tors in the prov­ince to com­ply with new reg­u­la­tions re­quir­ing prop­erly iden­ti­fied and ac­ces­si­ble park­ing spa­ces for peo­ple with dis­abli­ties.

The pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment made amend­ments to its ac­ces­si­bil­ity reg­u­la­tions in Fe­bru­ary.

Blue zone park­ing spa­ces for pub­lic build­ings will be re­quired to have per­ma­nent sig­nage when the new reg­u­la­tions take ef­fect.

Pre­vi­ously the reg­u­la­tions con­tained sig­nage re­quire­ments, but were not clear on the need for signs to be per­ma­nently fixed on a post, build­ing or other struc­ture. The prov­ince said this re­sulted in some tem­po­rary signs be­ing re­moved, for ex­am­ple, dur­ing snow­clear­ing op­er­a­tions, and the park­ing spa­ces be­ing dif­fi­cult to iden­tify.

The reg­u­la­tions also re­quire the park­ing space it­self to be painted blue and des­ig­nated with the in­ter­na­tional sym­bol for ac­ces­si­bil­ity.

Com­pa­nies that vi­o­late these sig­nage re­quire­ments could face fines be­tween $1,000 and $25,000, while fines for build­ing own­ers range from $500 to $5,000.

“We have lis­tened to the con­cerns of per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties in com­mu­ni­ties throughout this prov­ince and have strength­ened our reg­u­la­tions to make build­ings more ac­ces­si­ble,” said Paul Davis, min­is­ter of Ser­vice NL. “These new reg­u­la­tions have been de­signed to en­sure that build­ing own­ers and op­er­a­tors are conforming with the new leg­is­la­tion to pro­vide bar­rier-free park­ing to indi- vid­u­als with dis­abil­i­ties and I am pleased to see full im­ple­men­ta­tion of the reg­u­la­tions.”

The amend­ments were made fol­low­ing con­sul­ta­tion with or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing the Pro­vin­cial Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil for the In­clu­sion of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties and the Coali­tion of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties.

Davis said the reg­u­la­tions sup­port the pro­vin­cial strat­egy for the in­clu­sion of per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties.

“While we rec­og­nize that more com­mu­ni­ca­tion and aware­ness need to be done around blue zone park­ing, we are pleased that the Pro­vin­cial Gov­ern­ment has taken steps to strengthen the build­ing reg­u­la­tions,” said Michelle Mur­doch, pres­i­dent of the Coali­tion of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties. “These changes will en­sure that proper sig­nage will be erected to des­ig­nate park­ing spa­ces for per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties.”

More in­for­ma­tion on build­ing ac­ces­si­bil­ity re­quire­ments can be found on­line at www.ser­vi­cenl.gov.nl.ca/li­censes/build­ing/.

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