Russ Curnew has been fighting for free hospital parking at Ridge Meadows Hospital for around eight years. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Hospital parking fees needed, but changes to payment system possible, health minister says

B.C. health minister Adrian Dix says hospital parking doesn’t need to be so stressful

British Columbia’s Minister of Health says the government is “looking” at how hospitals charge patients for parking.

But hospital users are probably more likely to see pay parking updated for the 21st Century rather than it being abolished altogether.

Earlier this month, a patients group opposed to pay parking released information showing that nearly $1 million worth of tickets were issued for each of Surrey Memorial Hospital and Abbotsford Regional Hospital. Much of that money is never collected, with thousands of tickets cancelled every year.

Health minister Adrian Dix says he hears more complaints about hospital parking than any other issue. And he said he sympathizes with such people and has personally experienced the stress paying for parking can cause.

RELATED: Surrey and Abbotsford hospitals ‘targeted’ for pay parking profit, activist says

RELATED: Petition for free hospital parking presented to MP Jody Wilson-Raybould

“I’m living it right now at another hospital in Burnaby,” Dix said in a recent interview “I go there regularly, and I go there, and I type in my licence number and they say one hour, two hours, three hours. I’m thinking to myself, well, how long am I going to be here.”

“I’m sitting there with the person I’m visiting and suddenly I’m ‘Oh, it’s 15 minutes. But either I gotta go, or I gotta go get the parking and come back. We want people to visit their family members and their friends in hospital. It helps them get better when they have that support.

He said there are a variety of reasons parking isn’t free, from the need to incentivize more people to leave their cars at home, to paying for the capital and operating costs of maintaining large parking lots.

But he said parking a vehicle at a hospital doesn’t have to be as stressful as it currently is.

“There are some things in our system that I don’t think work very well for people that really frustrate them as much as the matter of paying,” he said. “I think it’s challenging because it’s very important that parking be available for people when they go to hospital, so they’re real challenges. It’s not just about the money.

“We’re looking at it and there’s lots of possible options.”

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
tolsen@abbynews.com


@ty_olsen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘A positive move’: Mayor of Kitimat gives thoughts on new provincial, federal COVID-19 measures

The Province recently announced new powers for bylaw officers and bans on reselling food

Terrace dental clinic say no staff experiencing COVID-19 symptoms 22 days after dental conference

Five members of the office attended the Pacific Dental Conference from March 5-7

Better COVID-19 testing results needed in the north

Former senior Northern Health official also wants work camps shut down

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

City of Terrace calling on Province to take stricter social distancing measures

The City sent the Province a letter earlier this month with a number of recommendations

IN DEPTH: How B.C. emptied its hospitals to prepare for COVID-19

Thousands of beds have been freed up, but patients and seniors have had to sacrifice

Crucial details of Ottawa’s proposed wage subsidy program expected today

The government has rolled out a bailout package totalling more than $200 billion

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

World COVID-19 morning update: Olympics delayed one year; 12,000 health care workers infected

Comprehensive world news update: Lockdown in UK showing signs of hope

Newspapers are safe to touch, World Health Organization confirms

Just make sure to wash your hands as you would after touching any surface or object

‘It’s up to us: Recently-returned B.C. couple urges Canadians to take COVID-19 seriously

Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

Canada will make sure masks sent by China meet quality standards: Trudeau

Chinese Embassy tweeted that China was sending 30,000 medical masks along with gowns, gloves and goggles

Most Read