NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS 1130) – Here’s a clear message from an emergency room doctor in New Westminster: Hospital parking is meant for hospital patients and staff, not SkyTrain commuters.
Emergency room physician Kelly Kasteel has taken to social media, upset by those exploiting new changes allowing free parking at hospitals.
“Folks, please, this was meant for hospital patients who require access to the hospital,” she says in a video posted to Facebook. “And this was also meant for nurses and physicians to have access without having to be bothered to touch a touchpad.”
The province announced parking at all facilities run by health authorities in B.C. would be free as of April 1 to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19.
Kasteel goes on to say she’s paid for her annual parking pass, but has found she can’t find a space to use it lately because someone’s taken her spot.
“The nurses cannot park underground because someone has chosen their right to park and take the SkyTrain over that of a frontline worker,” she adds.
The ER doctor notes there are people who, for example, are receiving chemotherapy or immunotherapy who “don’t have the white blood cell level to commute and have to be bothered parking elsewhere.”
The lifting of parking fees came after a number of frontline workers were ticketed after working gruelling, overtime hours in the face of COVID-19.
While she’s happy people are coming up and cheering those on the frontline every night at 7 p.m., Kasteel says that’s not enough.
“We hear you cheering, we hear you banging pots,” she says. “Show up for us, we’ll show up for you, but we need to be able to park first.”
Online, some say they could have seen this issue from a mile away, and that more enforcement is needed. Others say their minds are blown that, during a health crisis, people would still choose to put themselves before frontline workers.