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

Just Posted

Candice Woloshyn prepares her flower beds for the next season at her ‘Dirty Girl Flowers’ farm in Merville. Despite the pandemic, Woloshyn was able to sustain her homegrown business as community members opted for regular deliveries of fresh cut flowers. Photo by Binny Paul/ Campbell River Mirror.
Vancouver Island flower farmers were blooming as the pandemic wilted everything else

Floriculturists saw increased subscriptions as fresh flowers became a ‘sight for sore eyes’ during isolation

Struggling to afford rent, Sylvia Bailey is hoping to trade her love of cooking for some more affordable accommodation. (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Bailey)
Retired Victoria woman looking to cook, clean or garden in exchange for rent

Sylvia Bailey is hoping to use her love for cooking to help afford rent

View Royal Coun. John Rogers stands next to an unearthed home heating oil tank. As a way to prevent environmental disasters, he is lobbying for a provincial registration system and mandatory inspection for all above-ground tanks, as well as a requirement to remove any underground tanks not used for a prescribed period of time. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Efforts to regulate Greater Victoria home heating oil tanks continues

View Royal councillor part of movement to identify old tanks, prevent catastrophic leaks

International Bat Week (Oct. 24-31) is a time for people to learn more about the nocturnal creatures and how to protect them. (Photo by Cory Olson)
Holy Halloween, it’s Bat Week!

Bats have been getting a bad rap — B.C. Bat Program looks to change that

Wind and waves were part of the reason why the Sail Canada High Performance Team selected HMCS Quadra as the winter training base for Tokyo 2021. Photo by Ken Dool
National sailing team prepares for Olympics at Vancouver Island location

Sail Canada picks military facility at 19 Wing Comox for wind, waves and accommodations

Carolyn and Steve Touhey came across a pod of humpback whales while on their boat Sunday, Oct. 25. Photo supplied
VIDEO: Boaters encounter pod of humpbacks in Georgia Strait

Pod spotted between Comox and Texada Island

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
U.S. election results one factor that could impact immigration to Canada next year

The survey polled 1,523 Canadians between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25

The voting station mimicked a real voting station in Nicole Choi’s classroom at Chilliwack middle school on Oct. 22, 2020, where students had to show their ID (student cards), be checked off a list, and mark a secret ballot behind a screen. (Jessica Peters/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. students choose NDP majority in mock election

More than 90,000 youth took part in school-based election process

Crew transport bus at the Trans Mountain pipeline project work site in Burnaby, March 2020. (Trans Mountain)
Check your workplace COVID-19 safety plans, Dr. Henry urges

Masks in public spaces, distance in lunchrooms for winter

Kelowna City Hall has been vandalized overnight. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna City Hall hit by anti-pandemic vandalism

Graffiti condemning the virus appears overnight on City Hall

FILE – A woman smokes a marijuana joint at a “Wake and Bake” legalized marijuana event in Toronto on October 17, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
Home nurse visits could play big role in reducing cannabis use, smoking in young mothers

The program, dubbed the BC Healthy Connections Project, involves public health nursing home visits

Emergency crews respond to an apartment fire on Tuesday, Oct. 20. (PHOTO COURTESY JERRY FEVENS)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate possible arson

Fire was contained but three people displaced in aftermath

Graham Hughes, front, who ran as an independent candidate in the B.C. provincial election, sits with half a dozen supporters in front of Our Home on Eighth shelter, where Hughes is protesting the way homelessness has been dealt with in Port Alberni, on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Protesters occupy Port Alberni’s shelter

Former election candidate leads sit-in outside to protest homelessness

Most Read