Citizen advocacy results in no pay parking at new Campbell River and Comox Valley hospitals

Citizens from Campbell River and the Comox Valley are reacting with joy to the announcement by Island Health on Sept. 1st that they will not be charging the public, staff, volunteers or physicians for parking at the campuses of the newly opened Campbell River and Comox Valley North Island hospitals.

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. 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.

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.

Today, North Island citizens have every reason to celebrate the results of their advocacy: the opening of a brand new hospital located in each community with no pay parking at these hospitals!

Richard Hagensen

Council of Canadians, Campbell River Chapter