Some hockey enthusiasts in Salmon Arm are finding it difficult to get to Silverbacks games to cheer on their home team.
The problem lies in not being able to access designated parking spaces for people with limited mobility.
Graham Threlkeld recently wrote to city council “on behalf of all handicap fans, not just myself.”
Threlkeld said after observing the parking situation for a full season and seeing an ongoing shortage of designated spaces, he and others are requesting four more spaces as close to the entrance as possible. In addition to the existing seven, that would make 11.
It would also be helpful and safer if a section along the curb by the exit door at the east end of the arena be designated as a loading zone, he wrote.
At council’s Oct. 11 meeting, Mayor Alan Harrison said he met with Threlkeld at a game.
“I know all of us have been to Silverbacks games,” he told council. “A lot of our seniors go there. It’s one of their joys.”
He said he didn’t want the process of coming up with a solution to take too long. He added that while there may not be enough stalls, there are also people parking in them who don’t have stickers.
“That we need to solve.”
Coun. Debbie Cannon, the city’s representative on the Shuswap Recreation Society, said she was wondering if security or the RCMP could be involved in keeping an eye on the spots. She agreed to take the problem to the recreation society, which she did. Coun. Kevin Flynn suggested a warning letter might also be useful.
Following the rec society meeting, Citizens on Patrol was asked to monitor the designated spaces at the next few Silverbacks games.
“If there are drivers parking in these spots who are not permitted to, they will receive, either verbally or in writing, a warning. If the RCMP are available to patrol the lot, tickets could be given out,” Harrison told the Observer.
The Silverbacks organization has been asked to make an announcement during the games, reminding fans that the designated spots are reserved for those with mobility issues and corresponding permits.
Following these measures, if more reserved spots during Silverbacks games are deemed necessary, they will be added, Harrison said. They would be temporary, as they have not been needed at times other than the Silverbacks games.
“We have hockey fans with mobility issues that love going to Silverbacks games – let’s all make it as easy for them as possible by leaving the designated spaces for those who most need them,” Harrison urged.
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