Why one Vernon pharmacist would like people to not park in Safeway's lot | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Why one Vernon pharmacist would like people to not park in Safeway's lot

An almost full downtown Safeway parking lot, Jan. 24.
January 27, 2020 - 3:15 PM

With the supermarket closed and construction taking place, many people driving to downtown Vernon are using the Safeway parking lot as free place to park.

However, parking there is having repercussions for some.

"I have pharmacy customers... seniors who are trying to park in the parking lot and they can't because people who are shopping at other businesses are parking in the parking lot," Safeway Pharmacy manager Andre Ortmayr told iNFOnews.ca.

Ortmayr said he spoke to the Downtown Vernon Association about the situation and it sent out an email to its members saying it wasn't a public lot and the story made its way into the media. Judging from many of the comments online, people are determined to park there.

"It's quite a little event on Facebook," Ortmayr said. "I'm really just looking out for my patients."

Walking past the 30 Avenue parking lot on a Friday afternoon shows Ortmayr has a point. The lots almost full, and it's doubtful they're all at the pharmacy.

Ortmayr said the majority of his customers are seniors and walking even 50 metres can be difficult for them. He reiterates he's just looking out for them.

"The bottom line is it's kind of like parking in a handicapped spot, you want to leave this open for customers of the pharmacy," he said.

Just as it did when Safeway was open, Impark is patrolling the parking and can issue tickets to non-customers who park there. While news of this didn't sit well with many, Ortmayr says the contract is decades old and between his landlord Sobeys and Impark, and out of his hands.

"I'm a pharmacist, not a parking lot policeman," Ortmayr jokes. "I just want to leave enough space for my seniors who have complained there's not enough room in the parking lot."

Ortmayr said while people may say he's being "chintzy about parking" he's said he's just standing up for his patients.

"I don't want a battle about the parking lot," he said. "I would much rather talk to people about their medication than talk to people about where they park their car."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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