Port Hardy says no to parking tax

A suggestion that North Island Governments tax citizens to pay for free parking at new Campbell River hospital was denied

A suggestion that North Island governments tax their citizens $1 million to pay for “free” parking at the new Campbell River and Comox Valley hospitals has been met with shock in Port Hardy.

At their regular meeting July 19, council discussed a letter from Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District Chief Administrative Officer Debra Oakman asking regional districts, municipalities, and stakeholders within the “catch basin” for both the Campbell River and Comox Valley hospitals “if there is an appetite to participate in a tax requisition to cover the cost of operating a free parking facility” at both sites. Deputy Mayor Pat Corbett-Labatt was “stunned” by the letter.

The District of Port Hardy has written letters to both Health Minister Terry Lake and Campbell River Mayor Andy Adams expressing that people from the North Island, who have to travel down island for health reasons, are already at a financial disadvantage, because they have to absorb the cost of driving for six hours, return, and may also have to pay for meals and accommodations depending on how long they are required to stay.

“They really can’t get away from this parking,” said Bood, adding that it is not like North Island residents have a choice to just hop in a taxi from their homes.

What is not being taken into account is the economic spin-off to Comox and Campbell River caused by “captive (medical) tourism”, Bood said, adding that if a similar hospital was built on the North Island and patients were being sent here, there would have to be four more hotels, etc. to accommodate the visitors.

“There is a benefit to them. We really contribute to their economy,” Bood said.

“Fundamentally, I think it’s wrong” to tax people who are ill, and have no other option than to drive, by charging them parking fees, said Councillor Fred Robertson.

There has been discussion of a hardship provision which would waive or reduce parking fees where they pose a genuine financial challenge to patients and families, however, Port Hardy councillors are also concerned the steps that are required in order to be approved are not simple.

Corbett-Labatt said after looking at the hardship criteria, “it’s not going to be easy to get, is how I’m reading it.”

“They don’t make it easy,” agreed Councillor Dennis Dugas. Robertson disagrees with the principle as a whole. “It’s just creating a race to the bottom,” said Robertson.

Councillor John Tidbury made a motion that council send a letter “showing our dissatisfaction with their response.”

“This will be the third letter we’ve sent,” said Bood. The motion was approved. If a requisition was approved, it would have to come from the Regional District of Mount Waddington.

“The District is requisitioned for a certain amount by the Regional District to pay for the Regional District hospital services,” said Chief Administrative Officer Allison McCarrick in a later interview.

 

 

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Black Press Media file
Port Hardy RCMP on the hunt for porta-pottie arsonist

The porta-potties were lit on fire early in the morning on June 13

Eke Me-Xi students enjoy a field trip to Malcolm Island. (Submitted photos)
Eke Me-Xi Learning Centre takes field trip to Malcolm Island

Once at Bere Point, students made themselves at home in the day-use area

Mount Waddington Regional Fall Fair logo
Mount Waddington Regional Fall Fair cancelled again due to COVID-19 restrictions

The 2022 fall fair is still scheduled to take place in Port Hardy

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Most Read