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Permit sought for street parking to accommodate wheelchair van

TIGHT SQUEEZE: Adib Odisho, sitting, shows Councillor Tony Carella how much space the wheelchair lift in his van requires when the vehicle is parked on his Woodbridge driveway. Photo by Flo Da Silva

A Woodbridge man confined to a wheelchair is asking council for help with his unique parking situation.

In a deputation made at Monday’s committee of the whole meeting, Adib Odisho requested an on-street parking permit because neither the garage nor the driveway of his home can accommodate the extra metre of paved surface required for his van’s wheelchair lift. Overnight parking is prohibited on residential streets in Vaughan.

“I don’t know what to do,” Odisho said. “I hope you guys can help me with something.”

Already aware of Odisho’s predicament, Ward 2 Councillor Tony Carella said that something ought to be done to help his constituent.

He presented a motion that would grant an “exceptional parking permit” allowing him street parking “as long as he resides at his present address”.

Mayor Linda Jackson, herself in a wheelchair following surgery to repair an injured knee, sympathized with Odisho, but expressed concerns over possible problems with snow clearing.

“Being in the condition I’m in, I can certainly understand what you go through,” Jackson said before asking staff for some direction on the issue. “This would be precedent setting.

“I don’t think we’ve ever done this in the history of the city or the town.”

A city staff member responded that a similar parking permit might have been granted before, but was unsure of the exact circumstances or when.

Jackson said she agreed with the sentiment of Carella’s motion, but suggested that the permit be granted for only six months, and only after receiving feedback from Odisho’s neighbours.

Ward 5 Councillor Alan Shefman echoed Jackson’s cautious approach, but added that the Ontario Human Rights Code might already provide the best guidance in matters related to accessibility.

Vaughan Today
Online: November 12, 2007
Byline: Philip Alves