Sept. 30 is the deadline for business owners and operators in the province to comply with new regulations, requiring properly identified and accessible parking spaces for people with disabilities.
The provincial government made amendments to its accessibility regulations in February.
Blue zone parking spaces for public buildings will be required to have permanent signage when the new regulations take effect.
Previously the regulations contained signage requirements, but were not clear on the need for signs to be permanently fixed on a post, building or other structure. The province said this resulted in some temporary signs being removed, for example during snow clearing operations, and the parking spaces being difficult to identify.
The regulations also require the parking space itself to be painted blue and designated with the international symbol for accessibility.
Companies that violate these signage requirements could face fines between $1,000 and $25,000, while fines for building owners range from $500 to $5,000.
“We have listened to the concerns of persons with disabilities in communities throughout this province and have strengthened our regulations to make buildings more accessible,” said Paul Davis, minister of Service NL. “These new regulations have been designed to ensure that building owners and operators are conforming with the new legislation to provide barrier-free parking to individuals with disabilities and I am pleased to see full implementation of the regulations.”
The amendments were made following consultation with organizations, including the Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities and the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities.
Davis said the regulations support the provincial strategy for the inclusion of persons with disabilities.
“While we recognize that more communication and awareness need to be done around blue zone parking, we are pleased that the Provincial Government has taken steps to strengthen the building regulations,” said Michelle Murdoch, president of the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities. “These changes will ensure that proper signage will be erected to designate parking spaces for persons with disabilities.”
More information on building accessibility requirements can be found online at www.servicenl.gov.nl.ca/licenses/building/