KGH parking hot button

A Castanet story on parking at Kelowna General Hospital ripped the Band-Aid off a festering issue with patients and staff.

Changes have made it much more expensive for staff to use parking lots at the hospital, but Interior Health says those spaces are for patients and visitors – not employees.

IH says a lot six blocks away offers all-day parking for $1, but nurses at KGH say it's always full first thing in the morning, leaving them little option but to park at the hospital and pay $120 a month.

Thursday's story blew up with dozens of comments on both sides of the issue. Here's a sampling:

"The KGH parking waiting list is now nearly four years, not three," said a poster named Ginger. "Kelowna is growing fast ... people don't have family doctors. Emergency is taking the overflow.... Public can't find parking, which forces some of them into the staff stalls. Staff has nowhere now to park with their paid pass. Now what?"

"Nobody can seriously be whining about available staff parking for $1 a day a few blocks away?! ... if you choose to drive, then manage your choice. Just like everybody else in every other job. – Elected

"People seem to not understand that there is no parking at the $1 lot. These spots are taken immediatly. So it is 6:30 and you start work at 7 a.m. and think you might park at this site, and it is full. Now there is no parking at the hospital or anywhere in the vicinity. Where do you go so you can report to work before your shift." – citizen1

"Totally mismanaged this whole deal from the get-go. They had to know how many employee spots were required in the first place. Go to city and ask to build apartment building. Whats the first criteria? How many parking spots. – Paul Dunbar

"Why would there be a three-year wait list for a one-year parking pass? Is Interior Health only allocating certain parking spaces to yearly parking passes? That's the only thing I can think of. If so, that's just nuts!" – Doug Mehus

"all staff should be free! Stupid money-grabbing officials... Someone should be arrested for stupidity in this situation!" – conanross

"For an outsider, reading and listening to the citizens of Kelowna, one could mistake the subject at hand as being in Vancouver or Victoria. I have relatives living in Rutland, and I cannot believe that they actually have to plan the time of day to make it to downtown due to traffic. The growth rate, if seen as a problem, will take money. Lots and lots of money to fix the parking and traffic problems that plague the city. As far fetched as it seems, I believe a LRT( Light Rapid Transit) system running from the airport to West Kelowna though being futuristic in thought, is the answer." – Bobainturuncle

"It's a half hour walk to the closest bus stop from my rural home. Then buses don't run direct, and have kids to get to daycare/school/ sports activities, etc. Buses and transit are great but they simply don't work for everyone." – sickandtired

"The staff parking situation at KGH has always been problematic, with some staff having to park blocks away. Paid parking is limited, and for the many part-time or casual staff, the cost is too high, so we have vulnerable women treading through the cold and dark for blocks every winter night, a mugger's dream." damorris

"Holy dramarama. Pay the buck, take the walk, and get back to work." – Spectacular Rhetoric

"Some of these doctors and nurses work ridiculously long hours and are absolutely exhausted at the end of their day. Their shifts can start and end at all hours. Also, the hospital staff aren't all young and fit. In fact, there are many seniors who work or volunteer there as well. Would you want your mother or grandmother walking five blocks alone at 2 a.m.?" – SlabSerif

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