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Parking is not a human right

March 6, 2012

It’s been a while since I ranted, so I’d like to thank my Facebook friends and the Ottawa Citizen for providing me with today’s chance to do so. But before I get rolling, here’s the link that made my eyes pop out. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Done?  Here’s my take on a dimwit resident of a heritage neighbourhood who is taking the City to court (human rights tribunal) because…well let’s see:

She’s under the mistaken impression that having a car, or driving, or I guess technically parking, is a human right. I was fairly certain it wasn’t, but thought I’d do some Googling. After an extensive (or maybe 2 minute) search, I’m shocked to report it didn’t show up on any of the most common lists. They tend to focus on things like: existing, access to healthcare, being innocent until proven guilty, having a family…hmm Having a family. Let’s take a closer look, nope, no where does it mention driving them around in a mini-van.

She’s a special snowflake: She lives in a heritage area of town. Front parking is generally prohibited unless under special circumstances. So they do allow for, on occasion and after careful consideration,  this specialness. But she’s so very special that she doesn’t even need to follow this process, she can just jump straight to the tribunal rather than requesting the approval at the committee of adjustment, you know the people that actually approve (or at least consider these things). And this still does not obligate the City to allow her request. Being granted exceptions is not a human right according to those pesky lists.

She doesn’t understand her legal requirements: (let me preface this by saying I commend her on her commitment to her children’s safety) She is under no legal obligation to keep her 9 year old child in a carseat/booster. The regulation is one your child exceeds one of age, height or weight as follows (taken from the MTO website):

A child can start using a seatbelt alone once any one of the following criteria is met:

  • child turns eight years old
  • child weighs 36 kg (80 lb.)
  • child is 145 cm (4 feet-9 inches) tall.

The minimum age is 8. Sure, you can be extra cautious and keep your child in a booster until they exceed all the requirements (as I intend on doing) but I’m fairly certain that a person so committed to the safety of their children would not hack the arms off 2 of the car seats. Not to mention the fact that she may be courting legal trouble. I mean if I can’t buy an identical (but missing a CMVSS sticker and therefore illegal) carseat in the US, and I’m strongly advised not to wrap a newborn in bunting in the seat as it changes the security of the belts, what does hacking away at pieces of the seat do? I guess I take back my commendation since she’s clearly not that concerned.

She can’t drive her own vehicle: The laneway, as she describes it is 13″ wider than her vehicle at it’s narrowest spot. Over a foot, otherwise known as a tight fit, and yet, plenty of room. Plenty. She chose to purchase one that she cannot navigate. Still not a human right on any of the lists I can find.

And, may I also point out, until recently she had a vehicle that would fit:  The City did not come along and move her house closer to her neighbour. She bought a bigger van. She has chosen to reduce her own ‘quality of life’ not the City. If I were to buy a couch that didn’t fit through my front door, would I expect the City to be okay with me moving my living room to my front lawn? *Especially* if I didn’t get the permits to do so? Should I kick and scream that movie night is family time and they’re impacting my quality of life or should I have bought a properly sized couch in the first damn place?

Where was I? Oh right, my take: she chose to move to a neighbourhood that didn’t allow front parking. She chose to move into a house that had narrow access to a back parking spot. She chose to buy a larger vehicle. She chose to have another child. She is choosing to leave a child no longer legally required to sit in a carseat, in a carseat. She chose to skip the approval process. None of this is the City’s fault. And why is the tribunal wasting even one second of it’s time on this?

Did I miss anything?


Updated: As Chantal and  ScooterMcGee pointed out, the article (and the complainant?) give the incorrect dimensions for the vehicle. The Mazda’s exterior dimensions are listed as 68.9″ or 175cm (mirrors in) here. That’s 33″ or 85cm narrower than the lane. Almost a yard of clearance with the mirrors in.

26 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2012 11:01 am

    Thank you. I had a similar rant after hearing this on the radio this morning.

  2. Krista - The Tech Mom permalink
    March 6, 2012 11:31 am

    Yes, I thought this was a bizarre story.

  3. March 6, 2012 11:40 am

    did you see the comments that correct the citizen about the actual width of a Mazda 5! LOL She has almost a full meter clearance, not the mere 1 foot she claims!

  4. March 6, 2012 11:42 am

    Wow. Just… wow. *shakes head* You hit the nail on the head Neeroc. Bloody ridiculous. The whole affair. Nuts…

    • March 6, 2012 3:31 pm

      I hope it gets tossed quickly. I can’t imagine if she actually wins.

  5. March 6, 2012 11:47 am

    Have they even been ticketed for parking illegally?
    Such a waste of time for the city to have to deal with this.

    • March 6, 2012 3:32 pm

      They do mention the illegal parking in the article so I’d hope so. Then again, I’d hope she gets fined for mangling the car seats too…

  6. March 6, 2012 12:41 pm

    The best part – she’s lying about the width of her car! The widest Mazda 5 is 1.75m wide, leaving her at least a metre of room to get down the driveway.

    • March 6, 2012 3:32 pm

      Complete and utter tool from the report I’ve read.

  7. March 6, 2012 1:11 pm

    I loves me a good rant 😉

    Crazy times we live in-don’t hesitate LITIGATE!

    • March 6, 2012 3:33 pm

      Looks around…ponders, nope still not able to assign irrational blame.

  8. March 6, 2012 1:40 pm

    SHE is also a former investigator with the Ontario Human Rights Commission. *facepalm*

    • March 6, 2012 3:33 pm

      Which really does make it that much more disturbing? Annoying? Grr.

  9. March 6, 2012 2:36 pm

    OH, YES!

    The sense of entitlement in North American society is beyond ridiculous. She should go live for a year in Asia or Africa or South America. That’d do her good

    • March 6, 2012 3:05 pm

      I think a good headshaking would do her good at the moment.

  10. March 6, 2012 3:52 pm

    Craziness! Oy vey. This is what our hard earned tax dollars go towards. Funding lawyers to defend the City in situations like these. Thank you for raising my taxes Mrs. Howson.

    • March 7, 2012 9:15 am

      I really had to bite my tongue about the ‘spending my money bit’ I mean I’d want this avenue available to those that truly need it, but holy moly. Can’t these things be vetted first?

  11. Nikki permalink
    March 6, 2012 11:32 pm

    Great post. I agree wholeheartedly. The whole case serves to illustrate how out of control the Ontario Human Rights Commission has become. They used to be able to review cases and decide whether to hear them – but now they hear all cases. And since there is no cost or burden of proof on a complainant, why not make a frivolous claim? If you win, great! If not, oh well. I have heard about a number of ridiculous cases in the last couple of years.

    • March 7, 2012 9:16 am

      See? That’s what I was just wondering. But I guess not having your case heard would be a violation or something *snerk*

  12. Sara permalink
    March 7, 2012 7:42 am

    Such new and creative ways of taxpayers to waste our money. Reading all the comments on the articles in the Citizen and National post yesterday provided much comic relief. The delusion of entitlement clearly led her to believe her case would garner sympathy….I wonder what will happen now.

    • March 7, 2012 9:17 am

      It really makes me wonder about people sometimes. To actually think this was a good idea *g*

  13. March 8, 2012 7:41 am

    OMG. Thank you for my morning laugh.

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