Re­served park­ing ac­cept­able term

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

On Prince Ed­ward Is­land most ac­ces­si­ble park­ing spots are in­di­cated with a sign that reads: “Hand­i­capped Park­ing.” The def­i­ni­tion of hand­i­capped ac­cord­ing to The Ox­ford Dictionary states that the word it­self is “dated and of­fen­sive” and it de­scribes: “(A per­son) hav­ing a con­di­tion that markedly re­stricts their abil­ity to func­tion phys­i­cally, mentally, or so­cially.” The word “hand­i­capped” is ex­tremely lim­it­ing and de­mean­ing. Th­ese signs ap­pear in many ar­eas of the prov­ince and of­fend the very peo­ple try­ing to ben­e­fit from them.

I am 16-years-old and I was born with Cere­bral Palsy, a phys­i­cal dis­abil­ity that af­fects my bal­ance and co-or­di­na­tion. I walk in­de­pen­dently, but walk­ing dis­tance causes chal­lenges; there­fore I have to use a park­ing pass. When I get out of the car I want to feel wel­comed in­stead of dis­cour­aged.

Park­ing signs need to ad­vance to re­flect cur­rent times. Our provin­cial gov­ern­ment has signs la­belled “Re­served Park­ing” with the sym­bol of a per­son in a wheel­chair. Th­ese friendly, ac­cept­ing signs are avail­able for any busi­ness on P.E.I. to ac­quire free of charge from The Coun­cil of Peo­ple with Dis­abil­i­ties. It’s about time busi­nesses across the prov­ince use signs for their park­ing spa­ces that are more so­cially ac­cept­able. Busi­nesses could very well be of­fend­ing their cus­tomers with­out even re­al­iz­ing it. Is­lan­ders liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties are a grow­ing de­mo­graphic and it is in the best in­ter­est of is­land busi­nesses to pro­vide a wel­com­ing ex­pe­ri­ence as soon as cus­tomers pull up to the door. Hannah MacLel­lan, Pow­nal

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