Pay parking at hospitals under fire

Fraser Health board chair says get used to paying to park

A pay parking lot on the side of Surrey Memorial Hospital.

Fraser Health is defending its policy of charging for pay parking at most of the region’s hospitals to generate additional revenue.

The policy – long denounced by hospital users as a heartless cash grab – came under fire again at a Jan. 29 meeting of Fraser’s board of directors in White Rock.

Langley Township resident Harold Nagy demanded to know why Delta and Mission don’t have “this B.S. about pay parking” while patients and visitors must pay at other hospitals.

Delta and Mission are the only two municipalities that have bylaws that prohibit pay parking at hospitals.

“They should all be free,” Nagy said, adding the charges make some patients worry they’ll run out of time and be fined. “It’s a place of necessity when you go there. It’s not like going out for supper.”

About a third of the $8 million Fraser earns from pay parking goes to maintain the lots and the rest goes into the authority’s budget for patient care.

“Personally, I wish it could be consistent,” Fraser Health board chair Karen Matty told Black Press. “But we do not write bylaws in the various communities.”

The Canadian Medical Association Journal once likened pay parking to an unfair user fee that can add stress for patients and disrupt their care if they have to go out and feed a meter.

Fraser provides free parking passes for renal dialysis patients and grants other financial hardship parking permits on a case-by-case basis.

For everyone else, Matty predicts hospital pay parking is here to stay.

“Having to pay for parking is something that people need to get their head around,” she said.

“I don’t want to pay for parking. But parking seems to be becoming a premium here in B.C., especially the Lower Mainland. And I think we are all getting used to that fact.”

Part of the rationale for pay parking is it spurs stall rotation, so some spaces are available when patients and visitors need them and aren’t hogged all day by users from surrounding businesses.

Parking costs $3.50 an hour at most hospitals in the Fraser region, although that starts at $4.25 at Burnaby, Royal Columbian and Surrey Memorial hospitals, while hourly rates are lower in the eastern Fraser Valley – $2.50 in Abbotsford, $1.75 in Chilliwack and free in Hope.

Link: Parking rates by hospital

White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin said he can’t recall his council ever being asked to outlaw pay parking at Peace Arch Hospital.

But he suggested Delta Hospital is a special case because of its location with an abundance of other free parking nearby.

“Different situations call for different tactics,” Baldwin said. “If (Delta) put in pay parking probably people would simply park along the roads up to it or around city hall. So it doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

Baldwin also noted some pay parking lots at Peace Arch Hospital are actually owned and operated by the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation, with all proceeds going directly to local hospital improvements, not into Fraser’s budget.

Just Posted

More extreme weather beds needed in Mission

Council allocates another $5,000 to help keep people safe, warm and dry

Input sought for road works for Maple Ridge

Consultation on Haney Bypass upgrades

Trial begins for man charged with 2010 murder of Mandy Johnson

Langley single mom was fatally shot while in vehicle in Abbotsford

KPU campuses go smoke-free starting Jan. 21 – and that includes vaping

‘We didn’t make this decision lightly’ says prez of the Surrey-based institution

City wants to know about danger quakes pose to Abbotsford’s dike system

City commissioning report to examine seismically unstable flood protections

Solitary-confinement veto a chance to address mental health: advocate

B.C. Supreme Court made the landmark ruling Wednesday

Winter storm coming to B.C. this weekend

The bets are on as to how much snow the province will actually get in the coming days

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

Teachers’ union votes for non-confidence in school board

Lack of action after embattled trustee’s comments created unsafe workplace, Chilliwack teachers claim

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Global Affairs aware of report of two Canadians kidnapped in Nigeria

The foreigners were heading south from Kafanchan to Abuja when they were ambushed around Kagarko

Most Read