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Expensive Parking at Hospitals Is ‘Tax’ on Sick People, Says Coquitlam Mayor

coquitlam mayor

A month after Surrey eliminated paid parking at City Hall and near Surrey Memorial Hospital, Coquitlam’s mayor is making headlines to reduce parking prices at all hospitals in the region.

Richard Stewart recently shared his two cents on social media, focusing on the high cost of parking at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster.

The complaints made their way online shortly after Stewart frequented the hospital to visit a family member, and came to discover what the majority of people already know.


Mayor Richard Stewart called the prices a “tax on the sick,” and is calling on the provincial government to aid in cost reduction, especially for patients.

In a statement to CTV Vancouver, Stewart said “I really believe that the provincial government that’s responsible for healthcare has to make the determination that healthcare will be free to the peoples using it and that includes the parking lot.”

Depending on the hospital location, people can expect to pay over $4.00 per hour.

Fraser Health

While the majority of the public will agree with Stewart, Fraser Health – who manages numerous hospitals – does not.

Despite already facing requests from the City of Surrey, Fraser Health has indicated it will not reduce or eliminate paid parking anytime soon. They shared their reasoning in a statement shared online:

We also appreciate that some people may struggle to pay for parking, especially when they are dealing with long term illnesses. For this reason, we have a hardship process to waive fees where it poses a genuine challenge to patients and families. Most sites have a variety of pay options to accommodate different types of patient visits, including daily, weekly and extended stay rates as well as subsidized rates for those with financial need.

As hospitals are often centrally located, their parking spaces are very sought after. Paid parking at hospitals discourages customers and employees of surrounding businesses from parking at our sites, so these stalls are available for patients and their families. Parking rates also encourage stall rotation to ensure patients have access to parking at all times.

In addition, parking vouchers or fee waivers are often made available through the relevant medical program for patients who must make frequent trips to hospitals and clinics, such as hemodialysis and chemotherapy patients.

Money generated from parking fees covers operating costs to provide safe parking, such as lighting, security patrols, and repaving.  Any additional funds are reinvested into health care programs and services.

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