Penticton man's petition calls for elimination of paid parking at B.C. hospitals - InfoNews

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Penticton man's petition calls for elimination of paid parking at B.C. hospitals

FILE PHOTO- Penticton Regional Hospital. A Penticton man has started a petition in a bid to end pay parking at the province's hospitals.
March 12, 2020 - 12:00 PM

A Penticton man is on a quest to see parking fees disappear from the province’s hospital parking lots and parkades.

Brent Donesley says his Change.org petition has recently begun to gain traction after being posted online around two months ago.

“I have a disabled daughter and as a result spend a lot of time in and out of hospitals. My wife works in a hospital, so this hits very close to home for us,” he says.

Donesley says having to deal with parking meters is an added stress on people dealing with sick loved ones or who are ill themselves.

“My good friend had cancer. I went to Kelowna General to give him some stuff and every time you go there you deal with it. It just limits access to something that’s supposed to be unrestricted. It’s not free, we pay for it with our taxes but every time you go there you get this slap in the face,” he says.

Donesley says he’s been a few minutes late getting back to the vehicle, only to find a ticket on it.

“I think the fine was around $56. There are options for extenuating circumstances, but by the time you through all the hassle, you might as well pay the ticket,” he says.

Donesley also notes many hospital parking lots are operated by independent for-profit companies who make the money.

“It would be one thing if the money was going back into the hospital,” he says.

Donesley says his wife works in administration at Penticton Regional Hospital and deals with the issue every day.

“People are yelling at her over parking all the time, and there’s nothing she can do about it,” he says. “There’s no alternative to hospital parking in Penticton, with no free parking remotely near the hospital."

Donesley is calling for free parking at hospitals throughout the province.

“We had to attend Children’s Hospital in Vancouver for four months. It was a huge expense when you’re talking every day. I probably paid $1,000 in parking fees there,” he says. “I’m aware of some places on Vancouver Island that don’t have pay parking, but every hospital I’ve been to has it. It’s a real hinderance to health care."

If you want to add your name to his petition go here. So far over 1,700 have signed it.

Hospitalpayparking.ca is an organization advocating the end of pay parking at hospitals. It says more than 19,000 parking tickets were issued at Interior Health facilities in the 2018/2019 fiscal year.

Of the 19,401 tickets issued by Impark on behalf of the health authority, 5,665 were cancelled, 8,068 were paid and 5,667 remain outstanding.

Interior Health does not receive revenue from parking tickets, only parking fees, which means contractor Impark took in roughly $460,000 of a potential $1,105,857 in violation collections last year. The money gained from parking fees themselves is not available.


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