Province reviewing paid parking at B.C. hospitals
VICTORIA – British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix says he's taking a serious look at making parking free at hospitals in the province.
"The premier takes it seriously, he's instructed me to work on it," Dix said Tuesday. "We're going to work on an issue that may not result in free parking but hopefully will result in more relief for people."
Currently, most hospital parking in B.C. is pay parking. Only two hospitals run by Island Health offer parking free of charge in Campbell River and Courtenay.
But delegates at the recent federal NDP convention in Victoria voted in support of making parking free for patients and families at hospitals across B.C.
Dix said he is reviewing the issue and says he understands why so many residents find it frustrating to pay for parking or to face fines while at the hospital.
"We're looking at the issue and taking it seriously because people in those circumstances have talked to us about it," he said.
Jon Buss founded an advocacy group, Hospitalpayparking.ca, that's been pushing for free hospital parking in B.C. He calls the ongoing review a good first step.
"We need to see some action. I'd like to see the minister indicate that there's going to be some kind of schedule, some kind of actionable response."
The province currently generates about $40 million a year through paid parking at hospitals. Island Health alone makes approximately $8 million annually in gross revenue through parking.
Much of that revenue is used to cover the costs of maintaining lots and providing security.