B.C. Minister of Health announces review of hospital paid parking after NDP votes to cut fees

CHEK
WatchIt's the bane of anyone who visits a hospital on the island: paying for parking. Well that cost could soon be a thing of the past. This past weekend, the provincial NDP party passed a resolution to eliminate pay parking at BC's hospitals. Mary Griffin tells us what the health minister is doing in response.

 

Vehicles are usually jammed along the street across from Royal Jubilee Hospital because parking there is free.

Li Lai often tries to avoid the pay parking lots.

“I find it quite pricey to pay for hospital, between here and Victoria General,” Lai said.

At the Jubilee, it’s $1 for the first 30 minutes at the Emergency entrance.  At the parkade, it’s $2.25 for the first hour and $1.25 for each additional hour to a maximum daily rate of $16. It quickly adds up.

“When my mother-in-law was sick, I think we paid maybe somewhere around I can’t recall maybe 50, 100 bucks a week,” Lai said.

This weekend, the B.C. NDP held its convention in Victoria.  It passed a resolution to eliminate pay parking at all B.C. hospitals. BC’s Minister of Health, Adrian Dix, won’t commit to getting rid of fees but says a review of pay parking has been launched.

“Very few issues that people feel more strongly about in the healthcare system than the pay parking question. It’s a significant question that people have,” Dix said.

Advocates, such as Jon Buss from HospitalPayParking.ca, say axing pay parking is long overdue.

“I think it’s great that Adrian Dix the health minister has made some commitment to look into it. But he has a long history of talking about a review of hospital pay parking in the province. I think it’s time now to really see some action,” Buss said.

Parking revenues are significant. According to figures obtained by HospitalPayParking, Island Health received 7.9 million dollars in 2018, and that jumped 3.4 per cent in 2019 to 8.2 million. The total revenue for the province is $36,000,000.

“Some people will spend thousands of dollars on parking fees. It’s outrageous. It’s unacceptable. Noone supports it. It has to be reformed,” Buss said.

The minister wouldn’t speculate on when the pay parking review will be complete.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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