I AM WRITING TO SHED LIGHT on the current staff parking situation at Royal Inland Hospital. I would like to start with a letter I wrote out of frustration at an already touchy subject. Currently, all parking at RIH is free, yet we, the staff are not allowed to park in the parking lot. We have nowhere to park that is safely lit and less than a 20-minute walk away.
Since my letter was published my Mel Rothenburger on his Armchair Mayor page, Impark has been ticketing and even towing staff without a pass from the staff parking lot. This has led to a very toxic feeling among staff as it is hard to think the two aren’t linked.
Feeling that management and Impark care so little about their staff and would stoop to such a degree of bullying is turning nurses away from our already understaffed hospital. You would think that in the middle of a global pandemic we, the ones on the front lines, would be coveted and well taken care of, shown kindness and consideration. Nope. Not at RIH. Every day is a struggle and stressful to try to find a spot to park, taking into consideration that you will be walking back in the dark.
Yesterday, I drove through our parkade around noon. It was a ghost town. It was a ghost town because there are currently no visitors allowed at the hospital and any diagnostics that can be done elsewhere are encouraged.
I then drove to where all the staff are forced to park and the Columbia Street parking was backed up to 13th Avenue — a 27-minute walk, according to Google Maps. Not only is that a far walk to and from the hospital in the dark, but I wonder how the residents along those blocks feel about us parking there, blocking all available parking.
I wrote my letter not to complain but to search for a solution. We are not asking for free parking! Just a consistent, available place to park! There are many solutions to this problem. Offsite parking with a shuttle service works for other hospitals. Blocking a few floors of the parkade for designated staff parking would also help to ease the problem.
Instead, we are, in a roundabout way, told to stop complaining and start carpooling, busing or find a parkade somewhere. None of these are solutions. They are just another way of saying “Not our problem” to our staff.
It makes us wonder when this will become a newsworthy issue. Probably when it’s too late and one of us has been seriously hurt or worse. We need your help to shed some attention on this issue. Being compliant and taking the blows isn’t working any longer.
The staff at RIH need your help — we need the community’s help. We don’t need banging on pots and pans, this is a real chance to show your appreciation for showing up. Showing up to take care of you, take care of your loved ones, deliver your babies, hold your loved one’s hand in lieu of family who aren’t allowed, heal your friend. All we ask to do this job is a place to park!!!