A resident of the Fraser Tolmie Apartments in Saanich is concerned for those living there with mobility issues as a new rule is taking away a much-needed space for their scooters.
Howie Allan moved into the apartment complex more than 10 years ago because the building was very disability friendly.
Allan said at the time there was a parking stall in the garage that was set aside for mobility scooters, with power to charge them, adding it’s been that way ever since.
In 2021, Starlight acquired the building, with Devon Properties managing it.
Allan said about four months ago FirstService Residential took over management of the apartment complex, which is when some changes started happening.
On Jan. 8, the property management sent a letter to tenants stating a recent inspection found items like boxes, tires, personal items and scooters in parking stalls.
“We would like to remind all tenants that parking stalls are to be used for parking on insured vehicles only and may not be used as a storage space,” the letter reads.
“Please have these items removed from your parking stall no later than Tuesday January 16th, 2024. Failure to remove these items will result in cancellation of your parking agreement and privileges along with removal/ disposal of all unauthorized items without any further warning.”
Allan said this is concerning because some residents have nowhere else to store and charge their scooters.
He explained his unit is on the second floor, and his scooter is too big for the elevator, so he can’t take it to his unit.
“I come in the lobby to charge it, and they unplug it,” Allan added. “My scooter is my legs, every day I’m on my scooter, or I might as well stay in my room and rot away.”
Other tenants in the building are showing their support for Allan.
One tenant, going by the name Chris, emailed CHEK News saying they support Allan and all others who’ve had pre-existing service removed, “particularly when it’s a service that supports a physical need, like having a mobility scooter and the ability to charge it.”
The email continued to read, “I think it’s horrible that I’ve lived here for six plus years, and never have I experienced or heard of tenants being targeted or harassed until the last few months.”
It added they have made complaints to the property management about their concern about how tenants are treated, and there has been no response.
Allan sent a letter to the management company stating his concerns for all who use mobility scooters and has reached out to the Victoria Disability Resource Centre for help.
He fears the parking changes will hurt many tenants’ ability to live a normal life.
“It’s not fair,” Allan said.
CHEK News reached out to FirstService Residential and has not received a response.