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'My parking is my freedom': Kitchener resident barred from garage despite illness

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For Kitchener resident Chris Wilson, indoor parking is much more than a convenient place to leave his vehicle.

“This apartment for me is a prison. My parking is my freedom," said Wilson.

The proximity of his vehicle, taking on a greater importance due to his physical condition.

The 64-year-old is on oxygen, with just 15 per cent lung function and patiently waiting on the lung transplant list.

“This is not jewelry. This is life support.” Said Wilson pointing to his breathing apparatus and oxygen tanks.

Wilson said he chose 250 Frederick Street because of its proximity to the hospital.

“The reason I took this [apartment] was because I'm close to the St Mary's Hospital. I'm about six minutes by taxi to the hospital and I've had to have emergency runs.”

Wilson said he has been denied access to underground parking at 250 Frederick Street, like many others. 

“A month ago I get a notice in the mail slot from the new superintendent that my parking is now $250 [monthly] and if you don’t pay it, you will not be allowed to park here anymore," said Wilson.

According to Wilson, he has been paying for parking as part of his rental agreement.

“I’m trying to figure it out, okay wait a minute? I don’t have $250,” he said.

Wilson can’t work and is on a fixed income and said easy access to his vehicle is essential.

“Without it, I can’t survive here in this apartment. I'm basically locked out of my apartment if I don't have parking.”

Wilson said he circles the neighborhood for hours waiting for a parking spot within 100 metres of the building.

Even when he finds a spot close by, he said getting to and from the building, is a major challenge.

“On a scale of one to ten on pain – I’d say it’s about an eight,” he admitted.

When attempting to ask building management for help, Wilson said he was rebuffed.

“His direct words were, ‘I'm just the messenger. I'll give your paperwork to the owners.’”

Wilson said he has contacted Kitchener By-law, the Ontario Landlord Tenant Board and is seeking legal help.

Due to the buildings age, it is not required to have accessible parking. The City of Kitchener said they are providing temporary on street parking for tenants who no longer have access.

Wilson said despite his poor health, he will continue to advocate for his neighbours.

“I can take a beating. I've been struggling all my life with my Illness. I don't like to see people being stepped on and especially people that are vulnerable,” said Wilson.

CTV spoke with the superintendent at 250 Frederick Street on site Tuesday. He said people have been denied use of the underground garage because they do not have parking in their rental agreement.

Many of the residents we spoke with dispute this claim.

We asked the superintendent for contact information for the owners of the building but they were not provided.

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