Laziness not a handicap

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Every town needs more citizens like Yvon Riviere. The Labrador City man is fed up (and rightly so) with the insensitivity of people who insist on parking where they are not permitted.Everyone with vision can readily identify a handicap space on the Labrador Mall parking lot or anywhere else in these two towns. These spaces/blocks are very clearly marked and the bright blue paint with a white border is very hard to miss on the mall parking lot.

Hats off to Mr. Riviere who's decided to publicly declare that he will be a watchdog for this inexcusable behaviour and he will take photos whenever he comes across this inappropriate behaviour.

The parking habits of people in Labrador West are atrocious really, it's quite common to come up by the mall and see vehicles parked in the fire lanes, blocking hydrants, cars left running front of entrances, vehicles have even blocked the parcel pick-up next to Coop.

One mall employee informed the Aurora recently of a situation she witnessed where a gentleman, confined to a wheelchair, left the mall only to find he couldn't get off the sidewalk because the accessibility dip was blocked by a vehicle. The driver moved the vehicle quickly and fortunately the man in the wheelchair was able to get by, but the driver clearly had no business parking there in the first place and hopefully the incident provided a lucid warning to him to never park there in the future.

The excuse for parking in handicap spaces, fire lanes, next to hydrants or just stealing a spot belonging to employees is usually the very predictable, 'but I was only running in the mall for a minute'. Here at the Aurora, with employees' parking directly across from the back entrance, losing parking spaces is constant problem-more of an annoyance than anything but with the cold temperatures in the winter months, not having the access to plug in a vehicle can be dicey at the end of a business day wondering if the vehicle will start or not.

There's nothing like a good hard kick in the pocketbook to teach the inconsiderate a firm lesson in unauthorized parking. According to management at the mall, the RNC can indeed hand out tickets for this violation and have done so. But there probably isn't enough tickets being issued and everyone can appreciate it is very difficult for RNC officers to constantly monitor this specific problem.

It would be wise for the owners of the mall to hire their very own mall cop, a security person with ticketing part of his/her duties not unlike many other malls in this country. You can be sure after the word gets out that tickets are being issued, people will learn quickly how to read signs that indicate what space are not free-for-all parking. Seems it's only in Labrador West people are getting away with this stuff and it's not good enough. When these same people are visiting the Avalon Mall in St. John's, for example, or the Champlain Mall in Moncton, it's likely they are not doing this.

A person in a wheelchair has as much right as any mobile person to shop or do business and those people who are confined or limited in their mobility don't need the extra challenges that these thoughtless people throw down in their paths. It doesn't matter if you're 'just running in for a second' you don't need to deprive someone less fortunate with accessibility of a place to park. It's an act of laziness; people too lazy to walk an extra 10 or 12 feet, so they'd have a handicapped person walk the distance instead.

And parking in front of a fire hydrant and blocking access should not only warrant a ticket but also that vehicle should be towed at the owner's expense. This air-headed behaviour can be deadly and it needs to have some sort of punishment for perpetrators. It could mean someone not getting out of a building during a fire because a hydrant or a fire lane was blocked. Time is of the essence in any emergency situation, a fire can break out at anytime, no one needs to burn because some idiot, too lazy to find a proper parking space, decided to block a fire hydrant or fire lane.

So to Mr. Riviere, it's great you decided to not tolerate this insensitivity and it's a mark of a good citizen that you are doing something about it-the ones who disagree with you will be hard pressed to defend their disapproval. It's time those driver's realize laziness is not a handicap and doesn't warrant a space.

Geographic location: Labrador West, St. John's, Moncton

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