Revised hospital parking pitched

Mayor Nicole Read and Coun. Corisa Bell to meet Fraser Health

Coun. Corisa Bell wants new Maple Ridge council to take another look at pay parking at Ridge Meadows Hospital.

Maple Ridge council is going to take on the issue of pay parking at Ridge Meadows Hospital.

Coun. Corisa Bell brought it up before her council colleagues at Monday morning’s workshop meeting, and unlike the last council, found they were supportive.

Mayor Nicole Read and Bell will now seek a meeting with Fraser Health officials.

Councillors said they acknowledge that Fraser Health needs to collect money for parking at the hospital, but would like to address residents’ concerns about overzealous parking enforcement. They suggested a pay-when-you-leave system, so patients and visitors don’t have to feel stressed about being ticketed when their time runs out.

Bell said during the last council term, residents brought the issue to city hall, but it received little support from her fellow politicians or former CAO Jim Rule.

With changes at the table, she wanted to try again.

“I didn’t feel like the proper attention was put toward the conversation last term,” said Bell. “Because we have a different council, with a different mentality, and I thought it would be great to see if there was an appetite to have this discussion this term.”

Three Christmas seasons ago, Russ Curnew and his band, the Rx Rockers, received unwarranted $60 parking tickets while performing Christmas carols at Baillie House. They had the tickets voided, but since Curnew has been campaigning for free hospital parking.

The issue has been the subject of a documentary by the CBC news program The Fifth Estate, and inspired a song by the Raging Grannies of Maple Ridge, but no changes have been made locally.

“Russ and the hundreds of people who signed a petition are still looking for proper representation from their local city council,” said Bell.

She quoted the CBC documentary, which found that 72 per cent of Canadians feel stressed about parking while they are at the hospital. She said the Impark employees who police the local lot are paid on commission, which gives them added incentive to ticket hospital visitors.

“It shouldn’t be an opportunity to make money on the sick. You don’t want to go to the hospital – you have to go to the hospital,” said Bell. “I don’t like to hear from seniors who want to go see a loved one in the hospital, but say they can’t afford to.”

She noted Delta, Mission and Salmon Arm hospitals all have free parking.

Read said council needs to be responsive to the public.

“Our residents have called for it, and we have a duty to really give it a good look,” said the mayor.

“We know from our legal opinion, which is public, that it’s very difficult to say we’re not charging parking fees at all,” she added. “But there’s a lot of opportunity in there for us to look at some business cases, and how we might be able to adjust things, to address some of our residents’ concerns.”

Curnew said council’s commitment to get involved is a positive step, and there is lots of room for compromise.

“Anything is better than what we’ve got,” said Curnew. “Right now it’s highway robbery.”

Parking rates at Ridge Meadows Hospital are $3.50 for the first hour, $3 for each additional hour, a day rate of $8.25, and evening/weekend rate of $5.25 and a one-month temporary permit of $35.25.

Fraser Health parking lots in Maple Ridge generate approximately $500,000 per year for the health authority, which pays for lot maintenance ($78,000 per year) and the balance goes into the general budget for health care.

Bell said she plans to bring a recommendation back to council early in the new year.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Spike of bear calls to Conservation Officer Service prompts calls for prevention

‘We want to do everything we can beforehand to reduce conflict,’ said Sgt. Todd Hunter

Pitt Meadows mayor responds to petition to halt development of North Lougheed Study Area

A petition with 628 signatures was put before city council on Tuesday evening

Searching for isolated seniors in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows with music and dance

Seniors outreach team at Ridge Meadows Seniors Society came up with a pop up jukebox

Fraser North Farmers Market moves to online model for summer season amid COVID-19

Customers can order products online and pick up at Golden Meadows Honey Farm on Saturdays

B.C. retirement home creates innovative ‘meet-up’ unit for elderly to see family face-to-face

Innovative ‘purpose-built’ unit keeps residents safe when seeing family for first time since COVID-19

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping The News to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Death toll rises in COVID-19 outbreak at Langley Lodge

Number has risen to 22, making it the worst to date in B.C.

Fraser Valley libraries to offer contactless hold pick-ups

FVRL Express — Click, Pick, Go service to be offered at all 25 locations starting June 1

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

United Way allocating $6.6M in federal funding to help with food security, youth mental health

Applications from Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland charities being accepted for the emergency funding

Most Read