Nickeled and dimed
Liberal MLA Bush Dumville and PC MLA James Aylward speak out against parking fee at Queen Elizabeth Hospital
People who park at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown may get another half hour for free.
Right now, parking is free for anyone who exits the parking lot within 30 minutes of going in.
Health Minister Doug Currie promised Tuesday to take a look at how much it would cost - or how much revenue would be lost - if that 30 minutes was extended to a full hour.
Based on the past fiscal year, government takes in about $340,000 a year from parking at the province’s largest referral hospital.
But at least some members of the governing and Opposition parties are united in their displeasure with the fact that there is a charge for parking at all.
Following question period in the P.E.I. legislature on Tuesday, Liberal MLA Bush Dumville was very vocal in his support of Opposition MLA James Aylward’s concerns over the fee to park at the QEH.
Later, Dumville told The Guardian that he’s been voicing his opposition to the parking fee since he was first elected in 2007.
“The way I look at it, the heroes of our society are the ones who take time to go visit people (in hospitals),’’ Dumville said, giving Aylward credit for continuing to speak out on the issue for the past few years.
“It’s penalizing those that are going to visit loved ones. My suggestion in (the legislature) was that maybe a half hour was too short. Maybe we could look at an hour.’’
Dumville said it doesn’t make sense that the province has two main referral hospitals yet only charges to park at one of them. There is no cost to park at the Prince County Hospital in Summerside.
“I’m wondering if there could be a better balance.’’
Dumville also found it surprising when told that the fee for parking hauls in $340,000. He thought it was more.
Aylward said it’s an issue he hears about at the door all the time.
“It’s the seniors utilizing the main referral hospitals most frequently,’’ Aylward said. “Either they’re going in for procedures themselves or they’re going to visit a loved one. They are simply feeling nickeled and dimed over and over again by having to pay for parking.’’
Aylward said the fee for parking may not seem like much to some people but it adds up for anyone who’s there frequently.
He added visiting the hospital can be an extremely difficult time for many emotionally and the last thing they need is the added worry about having enough change in their pockets
“It’s essentially an insult.’’
House Opposition Leader Steven Myers, left, chats with West Royalty-Springvale MLA Bush Dumville before proceedings at the Prince Edward Island legislature Tuesday. Dumville spoke about his concerns over the parking fee at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Dumville wants government to look at giving people up to an hour of free parking. Currently, the parking fee is waived for people there less than 30 minutes.