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Disabled campaigner targets city parking

  • Parking problem: LaKiesha Wolffe checks out the “disabled permit holders only” parking sign on Reid Street (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A campaigner for the disabled yesterday said the City of Hamilton should hire her to improve its services for people with physical disabilities after a disabled parking spot was used to provide an outdoor dining area at a restaurant.

LaKiesha Wolffe, who has an artificial leg and is the founder and owner of A New Life Consulting, a disabled management charity, said the dining area blocked her access to the disabled space, outside the Red Carpet restaurant on Reid Street, when she tried to park last week to visit the nearby Colonial insurance offices.

She added: “I double-parked my car, put the blinkers on, and went to Colonial to do my business.”

Ms Wolffe said the nearest parking space reserved for the disabled was on the other side of the street close to Rock Island coffee shop.

But she said: “Most of us are going to the bank. Why isn’t there a space outside the bank?”

She added: “It’s not that they don’t have disabled parking bays, it’s that they don’t put them in the right places.”

Ms Wolffe said she has met city officials to discuss infrastructure problems.

But she added: “I feel no one will get it right until they hire me to fix the problem.”

A spokeswoman for the City of Hamilton said its engineering department would “be installing an additional bay nearby to make up for the lost one, as they have done in other new al fresco dining locations”.

She added the work was scheduled to be carried out in the week starting August 10.

But Ms Wolffe said: “It is unfair that the disability community always comes last.

“They should have said the dining can’t start until the parking bay is replaced.”

She asked: “Why do I have to wait four weeks for a parking space?”