Battle for parking spots continues at Regina General Hospital

August 8, 2013 - 7:03am
Regina General Hospital. Photo by Adriana Christanson/ News Talk Radio
Regina General Hospital. Photo by Adriana Christanson/ News Talk Radio

A nurse at the Regina General Hospital says she's fed up with getting parking tickets every time she works.

Nicole Robertson says the dearth of parking at the hospital means staff are forced to park on the street. She often gets multiple tickets each shift because she can't move her car to another spot every two hours, as required by the city's bylaws.

"I can completely understand," Robertson admits, conceding the law is the law, "but my point is that we really don't have any other alternative."

This fall the health region hopes to offer an alternative. It's setting up a park and ride program for employees so they can leave their cars at the Conexus Arts Centre and take a dedicated shuttle to the hospital.

Robertson says the proposed park and ride program won't work for people who run certain shifts and the bus service would take a prohibitively long amount of time. She would like to see a parkade built to deal with the 758 people on a waiting list for parking spaces, noting the facility has only 700 spots for the more than 3,000 staff that work there.

The Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region's Barry Stricker admits they don't usually work in a city this size.

"It seems to work better in larger centers where the length or duration of your travel is a lot longer," he explained. He says the prevailing culture in Saskatchewan is to drive your own car everywhere, something that is abundantly clear in Regina's downtown. He says growing populations and increased density downtown will have a ripple effect on the hospital area as well.

A second park and ride location is also being looked at but Stricker says that's still only a discussion. He feels some spaces have been freed up by a shuttle service that moves staff between Health Region facilities for meetings.

The parkade Robertson wishes for won't be a reality anytime soon. Stricker says the Region doesn't have the money, preferring to make patient services its spending priority.