Courtenay council gave second reading Monday to a bylaw amendment that would prohibit pay parking at the new hospital.
Mayor Larry Jangula has voiced his disapproval at the prospect of pay parking, which he feels would add further stress to hospital visitors.
“Of all the issues we’ve gone through in the last couple of years, nothing has generated the kind of input that this issue has,” he said.
Coun. Manno Theos has consistently heard comments about hardships that would result from pay parking.
“This is how the strong voice of the public can reach its representatives, and their wishes be heard and followed through on,” he said.
Coun. Doug Hillian has mixed feelings about the issue. On the one hand, he understands there is a cost associated with owning a vehicle.
But he feels the City has been left with a problem created by the provincial government. He also foresees problems with bylaw enforcement and street congestion if pay parking is implemented.
“I can’t ignore the volume of concern that is out there,” he said. “I believe it’s worth us giving it a try to see if it does succeed.”
Campbell River council has agreed to prohibit parking fees at its new hospital site.
The Campbell River Citizens for Quality Healthcare had been fighting against pay parking since Island Health announced in 2015 its intention to charge drivers at new hospitals under construction in Campbell River and Courtenay.
The community will have an opportunity to weigh in on the issue at a public hearing Monday, April 3 at 5 p.m. in Courtenay council chambers.