Snowproof wheelchair ramp draws threat of fines
Published Monday, July 9, 2012 7:59PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 10, 2012 7:21AM EDT
MONTREAL - Lyna Vandal is getting around fine in her wheelchair right now but when it comes to the snowier climes ahead, accessing her Haig St. home might be a tough slog.
The Hochelaga-Maisonneuve resident faces fines of $300 if she reinstalls the same custom cover on her wheelchair ramp, which the borough has declared violates municipal code.
Vandal said that she cannot afford the $5,000 covering proposed by the borough and that the one she had last year was entirely sufficient.
“The inspector told me to do what everybody else does, ‘shovel your snow.’ I started crying when he told me that. I was in a state of shock for 24 hours. I couldn’t go out,” she said.
“Three hundred dollars is enormous to me. It’s more than a quarter of my monthly revenue. It makes no sense,” she said.
Vandal said she is hoping for an exemption but thus far it does not appear forthcoming. The borough mayor has defended the stand.
"If we have a fire, she will be in danger and the neighbourhood will be in danger," said Hochelaga-Maisonneuve Bourough Mayor Real Menard.
But Vandal’s many supporters, which include disabled-rights advocate Lnida Gauther, point out that the borough mayor turns a blind eye to more nefarious activates, including street prostitution, which Menard has recently-proposed to allow in certain parts if the borough.
UPDATE: After this story aired on CTV Montreal at 6 p.m. on Monday July 9, Sun Youth received many calls from people willing to make donations. Those people pledged more than $5,500, enough to build a structure that complies with municipal code.