Judging from the 100-some responses he’s received from the public, Courtenay Mayor Larry Jangula figures most people in the city harbour legitimate concerns if paid parking comes into fruition at the new hospital.
“I personally think it’s a very important issue that affects a lot of people,” Jangula said at Monday’s council meeting. “There are a lot of concerns about what it does to the college, what it does to the pool. What happens to the surrounding businesses?”
Jangula notes a Delta bylaw which restricts pay parking in public use zones, and at park-and-ride facilities.
Couns. Erik Eriksson and Doug Hillian are both opposed to offloading costs onto taxpayers — an idea proposed by the Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District board. If a tax requisition were to come into effect, Courtenay’s share would be $237,805.
“Part of running a hospital is maintaining parking facilities,” said Eriksson, who advocates pressuring “the private corporation that’s running this hospital” to install a ticket dispensing machine in the parkade.
Hillian is surprised Comox Valley MLA Don McRae and the Province are not, like council, being inundated by emails, considering the matter is a provincial responsibility.
“I don’t see government changing any time soon in the way that hospitals are funded and administered,” he said.
Council favored Hillian’s motion for a staff report on the implications of the aforementioned Delta bylaw in terms of its practicality and potential impact on hospital financing. Couns. Manno Theos and Rebecca Lennox were absent Monday.
Campbell River council — undertaking the same discussion — has also directed its staff to explore alternative options for parking at its new hospital, which is also under construction.
“Hopefully we can find a resolution,” Coun. Bob Wells said.