A trip to the hospital can be stressful, even before you walk through the door. Just ask Don Watson who's visiting his son at Royal Jubilee Hospital.
"My son is in here now getting ready to have heart surgery and I have to worry about paying to find a parking spot," said Watson. "You know, I shouldn't be worrying about that. I should be worrying about my son."
But parking at hospitals in BC — including across Vancouver Island — like at Victoria's Royal Jubilee Hospital or Nanaimo's Regional General Hospital comes with a cost.
A BC advocacy group — hospitalparking.ca — thinks that parking should be free for patients, their supporters and staff. Jon Buss, the group's spokesperson, told CTV News, "There should be no charge for it whatsoever and there certainly shouldn't be violations."
Buss says the $36.4 million dollars that was generated last fiscal year by the province's hospital parking lots is a mere drop in the bucket for the provincial government, compared to its massive budgets.
"For one day of the year — we cover all of the hospital operating costs — for one day of the year through pay parking but people have to pay and deal with its nonsense for all 365 days of the year," said Buss.
The Ministry of Health issued a statement Tuesday, noting, "Under the current government, parking rates for patients and visitors have not and will not increase. The freeze in rates will continue as the government systemically reviews parking issues."
The province went on to state, "We know there are concerns about pay parking at hospitals everywhere in BC. which is why the review is underway."