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Port Coquitlam mayor calls for free hospital parking during pandemic

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Mar 30, 2020 at 2:53 pm PDT

FILE - Royal Columbia Hospital (Courtesy Fraser Health)

Brad West has heard from nurses and healthcare workers dinged with parking tickets

He has asked health minister to waive parking fees at hospitals, for now

An online petition also calls on Premier John Horgan to allow free parking at B.C. hospitals

PORT COQUITLAM (NEWS 1130) – Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West wants the province to waive parking fees at hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

West says he’s heard too many recent stories of healthcare workers leaving hospitals to feed parking meters after helping one patient before going to help another.

“I have also heard from nurses and healthcare workers who have come off an extra long shift only to be greeted by a parking ticket,” West says in a letter addressed to Health Minister Adrian Dix.

“As we try to navigate through this unprecedented time together, we all agree that the health and safety of all our residents is of the utmost importance. Our healthcare workers are laying it all on the line for us and the last thing they should be worrying about is paying for parking.”

West wants parking fees waived for all, at least for now, and asked Dix to make that happen.

“There are many people who believe that parking at hospitals should be free, period. I agree, ” West says.

The husband of a nurse said over the weekend he was shocked to learn his wife was slapped with an $80 ticket at a Lower Mainland hospital parking lot. He also suggested a temporary grace period for hospital staff as they continue to work throughout the crisis.

As well, an online petition is calling on Premier John Horgan to allow free parking at B.C. hospitals during the pandemic. It had more than 7,000 signatures, as of Monday.

Later on Monday, Health Minister Adrian Dix announced that paid parking at hospitals will be suspended as of April 1 and until further notice, but didn’t clarify who that applies to.