Russ Curnew has been fighting for free hospital parking at Ridge Meadows Hospital for around eight years. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Russ Curnew has been fighting for free hospital parking at Ridge Meadows Hospital for around eight years. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

MLAs brought free hospital parking motion to NDP convention

Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows members have issue up for review

Hospital parking fees may be on their way out.

At the B.C. NDP party convention last weekend, delegates passed a motion supporting free hospital parking across the province.

The ridings of Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge-Mission proposed the motion.

Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge MLA Lisa Beare said it has been an issue at Ridge Meadows Hospital, and she knows people who have been frustrated with being forced to feed the meters while visiting loved ones there.

Beare said the fees “add costs at a difficult time and a stressful moment.”

Premier John Horgan has asked Health Minister Adrian Dix to review the issue.

Russ Curnew, who has been campaigning for free hospital parking in Maple Ridge since his old band was unfairly ticketed while performing for residents there during the holiday season of 2012, isn’t giving up his fight.

“I’m not going to quit. It’s a good cause, and I don’t think we should be paying for it.”

He has petitioned politicians from the Maple Ridge council of the day to current mayor Mike Morden and the premier.

Prompted by former councillor Corisa Bell, Mapel Ridge council considered bylaws to eliminate hospital parking in 2015.

The problem is hospital parking brings in so much revenue – $36 million in the 2019 B.C. fiscal year alone.

In Fraser Health, it raised about $15.5 million, which was $500,000 more than the previous year.

Some $820,000 per year is paid at Ridge Meadows Hospital. The money is used for lot maintenance and snow removal, and supports patient care.

The fee at Ridge Meadows Hospital is $3.50 for the first hour and $3 for each additional hour. There is also a day rate of $8.25 and an evening rate of $5.25

Jon Buss, of the Surrey-based free parking lobby group hospitalpayparking.ca, notes that allowing Imperial Parking (Impark) to keep the violation revenue has created an incentive for too-rigorous enforcement, given the nature of many hospital visits.

Impark manages Fraser Health and Coastal Health hospital parking. Buss has been unable to get Impark to disclose how much it keeps from the violations at hospitals.

He has met with hospital board chairs and learned they are not allowed to stop the flow of parking revenue.

“This has to come from the Ministry of Health,” he said. “But everyone I’ve met and spoken with behind the scenes is in favour of this. I think things will change. There is a lot of will.”

Beare, who is also in cabinet as minister of tourism, arts and culture, is optimistic the fees will be lowered or eliminated.

“When the premier directs the minister to review the matter, that’s very encouraging,” she said.

She noted the NDP government already ordered hospital parking fees frozen, and there is assistance in the form of hardship waivers and payment options for people who cannot afford the fees.

Bears said constituents who need this help can contact her office or MLA Bob D’Eith’s for assistance dealing with parking at Ridge Meadows Hospital.


 

@NeilCorbett18
ncorbett@mapleridgenews.com

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

Flags flown at half mast out front of Fraser Regional Correctional Centre for slain corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa. (Neil Corbett/ The News)
Public vigil and flying flags at half mast done to honour slain prison guard

Maple Ridge corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, 29, is being remembered in a number of ways

School sign at Pitt Meadows secondary, which is one of the schools in the district with a recent exposure to COVID-19. (The News files)
Five schools added to list of those with COVID-19 exposures

Surge in cases at Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows schools

Approximately $1.6 million was provided by the province to support the Foundry’s virtual services, including the development of the new Foundry app. (The News files)
New app to help youth access mental health and substance use supports

New Foundry BC app to complement services at Foundry Ridge Meadows

RCMP stock photo. (Black Press)
Throat injury call brings large Ridge Meadows RCMP response

Incident sees two men facing assault-related charges

Amazon has announced the creation of five new facilities in B.C., to employ about 2,000 people. (Amazon/Special to Black Press Media)
Amazon adds new facilities in Langley, Pitt Meadows, Delta, Vancouver

The Vancouver port centre will be the first Amazon centre to feature robotics in B.C.

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Mandeep Grewal was gunned down outside an Abbotsford bank in October 2018. Police said a violent gang war to control drug-line territory was going on at that time. Drug charges have now been announced against seven people. (FILE PHOTO: John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
7 people face 38 charges related to gang drug activity in Abbotsford and Mission

Police say investigation began in 2018 into expansion of Brothers Keepers’ drug line

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

Most Read