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

Victoria police arrest man at gunpoint for allegedly assaulting two people with a knife

The man was arrested Monday night after in incident in the 900-block of Pandora Ave.

Judge quashes Victoria man’s appeal of 90 day weekend sentence for trafficking meth

Godofredo Narboneta Ruiz was the owner, driver of vehicle used to transport the drugs

Saanich mayor begins living roof planting process

A garden will top Mayor Fred Haynes’ new home on Prospect Lake

VicPD investigates three suspicious dumpster fires in half-hour period

Fires discovered around 3:15 a.m. in the Harris Green neighbourhood

Large willow tree comes down in Beacon Hill Park

The tree has been in place for decades at Goodacre Lake

WATCH: United Way #Drive4Five event launches campaign to raise $5 million

More than 80,000 lives changed last year by the United Way

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Bear killed in Kimberley after chasing girl, wreaking havoc on town

This particular brown-coloured bear has been the subject of many calls this summer; very food habituated, CO says

Vancouver Island man bikes through B.C. Interior for mental health, addiction awareness

Vancouver Island Resident Mat Fee is approaching the final phase of his cross-Canada bike journey to raise awareness about addiction recovery.

Boy overdosed on illicit anti-anxiety drug found on Kelowna classroom floor, RCMP say

Noah Mills, 8, ingested a pink powdery substance off his Kelowna classroom floor

BC SPCA investigating after three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Psychiatric assessment ordered for man accused in Salmon Arm church shooting

Lawyer tells court accused was diagnosed with psychosis hours after his arrest

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

B.C. offers early retirement, training fund for forest workers

Communities eligible for $100,000 for permanent closures

Most Read