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WIN! Campbell River chapter celebrates Vancouver Island Health Authority decision against hospital parking lot fees

Citizens for Quality Healthcare after they made a presentation to the regional hospital board against paid parking at hospitals, October 2016. Campbell River chapter activist Rich Hagensen is second from the right in the photo.

The Council of Canadians Campbell River chapter is celebrating the recent decision by the Vancouver Island Health Authority (Island Health) to scrap their plan to charge for parking at the newly opened Campbell River and Comox Valley hospitals.

On September 1, the Campbell River Mirror reported, “Island Health said in a public service announcement released today that many considerations were taken into account as part of the decision including the organization’s patient and family-centred care focus, cost sustainability, and community feedback.”

Chapter activist Rich Hagensen says, “For over two years, members of Citizens for Quality Health Care North and Council of Canadians Campbell River chapter as well as other individuals have been advocating against the plan by Island Health to have pay parking at both hospitals.”

Hagensen has argued that “hospital pay parking is an unfair and unacceptable hardship on hospital patients; hospital users’ families and friends, and hospital employees” and it has also been noted that given parking fees can be a financial barrier they violate the Canada Health Act because it promises to “facilitate reasonable access to health services without financial or other barriers.”

Hagensen now highlights, “As a result of people speaking out against pay parking at Regional Hospital Board and City Council meetings, writing letters and sending submissions to City Councils, Island Health and Ministry of Health, both Campbell River and Courtenay City Councils passed resolutions in 2017 for free parking at our new hospitals and other public lands within their city’s boundaries. Despite these city bylaws and until their recent announcement killing pay parking at the new hospitals, Island Health had maintained their ongoing stance of insisting that pay parking was going ahead and parking meters were installed at both new hospitals.”

He also notes, “Island Health’s change of heart parallels their change in plans five years ago from building one hospital to serve both Campbell River and the Comox Valley to constructing one hospital for each community in response to years of community activism in Campbell River, the Comox Valley and the North Island – including petitions, town halls and presentations.”

Congratulations to all involved in this win!

Further reading
WIN! Campbell River chapter celebrates City Council vote against hospital parking lot fees (February 2017)