Lacey Secord, her 11-month-old baby Gabriel, and Secord’s boyfriend Dale Broeckx where the young mother keeps getting parking tickets as she tries to care for her son with severe health issues. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

B.C. woman with severely disabled son keeps getting parking tickets

‘There has to be something they could do’

Anyone who has every received a parking ticket knows what a nuisance it is.

But what is a stone in the shoe for most of us, is insult on top of injury for Lacey Secord who keeps getting parking tickets while living in a tiny apartment downtown and caring for her baby who suffers from multiple, serious health issues.

Secord lovingly holds on to 11-month-old baby Gabriel during a visit, tickling him and calling him “Grumpy Gabe” as the healthy-looking boy giggles.

Upon hearing a stranger’s voice, the little boy’s face goes blank as he looks off into the middle distance, not making eye contact. That’s because he is legally blind, just one of many serious concerns Secord has to consider for his future.

Little Gabriel suffers from two major brain birth defects, schizencephaly and polymicrogyria, which can lead to development delays. He also has chromosome 7p duplication, which also often leads to developmental delays and intellectual disabilities.

“He may never talk, he may never walk,” the young mother says. “Or, it’s possible he will be functional.”

Gabriel also often requires an oxygen tank to breathe properly and he is fed through a tube in his stomach. And then there is the low muscle tone.

“It’s a good workout just for him to hold his head up,” boyfriend Dale Broeckx explains in their tiny apartment over shops on Wellington Avenue.

All this has been manageable for the young mother and her boyfriend, but what is causing a constant nuisance and expense is parking, which is limited to two or three hours on Wellington or anywhere near their apartment. When they need to get out to go to frequent medical appointments, it’s a big production.

“It’s a huge hassle on the best of days,” Secord says.

“When we go out there is the oxygen tank, feeding equipment, the chair, a diaper bag,” Broeckx explains. “We can’t just grab the kid and go.”

That sometimes means Secord parking her car on Wellington and, unfortunately, often getting parking tickets in the spots that only allow for two-hour parking. (Not to mention the occasional break-ins costing her even more money.)

Broeckx said he understands exceptions can’t be made for everyone who parks past the posted times, “but for someone in her position, they should cut her some slack,” adding that they were told to park on Victoria west of College, the nearest spot with unlimited street parking but a considerable walk, particularly in the winter for Secord and Gabriel.

Secord decided to dispute the first ticket, which city hall agreed to cancel. But that came with a warning that they wouldn’t do it again.

“They pretty much told us we were S.O.L.,” she said. “They said if they did it for us, they’d have to do it for everybody.”

A spokesperson for city hall confirmed there is no such thing as a disabled or handicapped parking pass on public streets.

“Currently the City does not have a policy that would allow on street parking permits to be given to individuals, so if they inquired they would have been told this information.”

At first, city hall deferred questions about parking downtown to the Downtown Chilliwack Business Improvement Association (BIA) with which the city consults on parking matters in the area.

“The BIA is funded by all property owners in the downtown, and their board of directors is made up of both property owners and tenants in the downtown. The City does not amend parking in the downtown without consulting with the BIA.”

BIA executive director Kyle Williams said while it is true the organization offers input to city hall on parking, it’s the municipality that both creates and enforces parking bylaws.

“We are never happy to hear of anyone having parking issues in our commercial downtown,” Williams told The Progress. “Together, we regularly review parking policies in the commercial core to ensure that those working in the area, their customers and the tenants above commercial spaces have the best possible access to parking. Unfortunately, there are times when standard parking options may not work for each individual person.”

Secord and Broeckx agree it isn’t a huge deal, but they wonder why something couldn’t be done in their situation.

“There has to be something they could do,” Broeckx said. “I don’t think it would take that much.”

In the end, what the couple really needs to more simply care for little Gabriel is a little apartment that comes with a parking spot.

• RELATED: Chilliwack parking bylaws need strengthening

• RELATED: Security changes coming to downtown Chilliwack


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Brush fire breaks out near Taylor Arm Park

Fire forces partial closure of Highway 4 west of Port Alberni

Rumoured Justin Trudeau vacation sparks contention in Tofino

“I personally hope that people will just leave him alone, frankly.”

Diesel-dependent Hesquiaht First Nation receives $500,000 for hydropower project at Hot Springs Cove

New plant at Ahtaapq Creek expected to decrease diesel consumption by about 76 per cent.

Inside the music: step behind the curtain at the venerable Vancouver Island Music Festival

Big Read: VIMF in the Comox Valley exemplifies the spirit of an Island summer music festival

Campfire ban coming into effect across West Coast

The Coastal Fire Centre says bans will begin on Wednesday

BC Games: Day 2 comes to an end

Hundreds of medals have been handed out at the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

Brush fire breaks out west of Port Alberni

Fire forces partial closure of Highway 4 heading to Ucluelet and Tofino

Accident on Vancouver Island after artillery gun rolls down hill and damages taxi

Witness says accident happend about 1 p.m. Saturday; RCMP investigating

B.C. mining company, involved in 2014 spill, ordered to pay lost wages

Mount Polley Mining Company must pay wages to 26 employees who were laid off without proper notice

Two significant wildfires burning in southeastern B.C.

More than 20 fires were burning in the Southeast Fire Centre as of Saturday afternoon

Volunteers provide the glue that keeps BC Games moving

The 2018 Cowichan Summer Games had more than 2,300 volunteers on hand across Vancouver Island

No Name brand chicken nuggets recalled due to possible salmonella

Canadian Food Inspection Agency says multiple illnesses reported in B.C., Alberta and Ontario

Lodeiro scores twice to help Sounders beat Whitecaps 2-0

Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro opened the scoring in the fifth minute when he converted a penalty kick

Race walker breaks 18-year-old BC Games record

Zone 6 athlete Olivia Lundman crossed finish line with ease, to loud cheers in Cowichan

Most Read