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

Forestry workers set to begin job action in Kootenays

Operations in Castlegar, Cranbrook, Galloway, Elko, Radium, Golden may see job action this week.

Second-story pot shop snuffed out

Invermere marijuana shop must revisit site proposal

Sultans of String swing into town

Show at Pynelogs November 29th

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

Nordic club glides into new ski season

Special presentation by Olympian Ingrid Liepa

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

Most Read