Surrey’s free hospital parking won’t catch on elsewhere

Interior Health not looking to follow the Surrey model for regional hospitals

The City of Surrey council’s initiative to provide free two-hour parking around its hospital won’t be catching on at Kelowna General Hospital anytime soon.

Craig Paynton, Interior Health manager of protection, parking and fleet services, said Surrey’s move has caught people’s attention, but there are no plans for IH to follow suit at the KGH parkade, which provides more than 335 spaces.

“It’s one of those conversations that comes up periodically and what Surrey has done will spark it again,” Paynton acknowledged. “Nobody likes to pay for parking at a hospital but there is a reason and method behind it to cover the costs of operating a parkade.”

RELATED: Surrey council adopts two-hour free parking at city hall, hospital

Those KGH parkade costs, he noted, include general maintenance, security, lighting, fixing pavement potholes, line space painting and snow removal, expenses that otherwise IH would have to redirect funding from patient care services to pay for.

“We do an annual review of our parking rates, taking into account the cost of operating a parkade and local pay parking rates as well. It is about trying to find a balance between that and considering the parking impact on the surrounding neighbourhood if our rates are too expensive.

“We do have financial exceptions for medical hardships that are reviewed on a case by case basis through our hospital social worker program regarding daily and monthly rates.”

In Surrey, public paid parking at its hospital is provided by the city and Fraser Health Authority.

The Fraser Health parking lot rate is $4.25 for the first hour, $3.50 for each subsequent hour. The rates at some IH facilities are as follows: Kelowna General Hospital—$1.40 hourly, $6.50 daily; Vernon Jubilee Hospital—$1 hourly, $5 daily; Penticton Regional Hospital—$1 hourly, $5 daily; East Kootenay Regional Hospital—$1 hourly, $5 daily.

In Surrey, the free parking was a promise made by newly elected mayor Doug McCallum during the recent municipal election campaign.

RELATED: Editorial—Fraser Health should park the hospital parking fees

It would encompass city paid parking spots at both city hall and the hospital, which is estimated would cost that city an estimated $850,000 in revenue annually—$490,000 at city hall and $360,00 at the hospital.

McCallum said the move has financial implications but called it “the right thing to do” for taxpayers.

He said his council will also work to convince the Fraser Health Region to follow in his city’s footsteps and offer free, two-hour parking for the hospital parking spaces it oversees.

Delta resident Jon Buss, a retired businessman, applauded Surrey council’s decision, claiming high parking rates are a financial barrier to visiting family and friends of patients, and that causes unnecessary stress.

“It’s not right,” said Buss, who earlier this month launched his own website hospitalpayparking.ca.”It’s a place where people are at their lowest, their weakest, their most stressed…We can’t be making money-makers out of them.”



barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

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

New Alberta forward joins Vancouver Giants’ ranks

new left-handed 18-year-old is a familiar face to Giants head coach Michael Dyck

Langley Advance Times Arts Calendar: Feb. 21, 2020 edition

The arts calendar is published Fridays and the community calendar is in the Wednesday print edition

LETTER: End the blockades, pleads Langley reader

People have a right to protest, then there’s a question about the rights of all the others

LETTER: Baffled by warning signs in Langley

Reader sees electronic signage as a waste of money and ‘not very useful’

Mugging with airsoft gun results in Langley school lockdown

Police found the weapon and a stolen phone later

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

‘A bag full of garbage every 15 metres’: Surrey industrial area filled with trash

Local workers looking to recruit business, raise funds to help dispose of litter

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Brand new Tesla crashes into Surrey store front, mounts gas line

Driver was heading to the Autoplan store, straight off the lot

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Forest industry protests northern B.C. caribou protection deal

B.C. Mining Association supports federal-Indigenous plan

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

Most Read