Council looks at potential for automated parking at hospital

Health and Wellness Committee may ask Interior Health about installing an automated ticket dispensing machine at the Hospital parking lot.

The Health and Wellness Committee asked Coun. Gerry Warner to enquire at the Monday, Oct. 7 Cranbrook council meeting if the city would be able to approach Interior Health about installing an automated ticket dispensing machine at the East Kootenay Regional Hospital parking lot.

Currently, the hospital parking lot has a paid meter system in place. Security takes care of ticketing. The problems come for people who may not easily be able to run out when the meter is going to expire, or whose procedure may take longer than first thought.

Warner said there are two big advantages to the automatic ticket machines, some of which are in use at other hospitals in the province.

“You just drive in and pull the ticket out then you wouldn’t pay until you left, then you just pay for the time you are in there, as opposed to paying for an hour,” he said. “The other advantage would be that in the long run, Interior Health would gain more revenue from such a machine.”

Warner said that currently there are people getting fines and not paying them. He said that he’s heard the security has let people off as well “if they look stressed out.”

“This might be a better system all around and remove a major annoyance with the situation,” he said.

CAO Wayne Staudt said he would contact Interior Health and see if they have considered that option. If they have not then he recommended drafting a letter highlighting the option.

Mayor Wayne Stetski said that he’d heard about prepaid meter cards. The prepaid cards can be loaded up beforehand then used on machines configured for them. Stetski said the person who talked to him about it had seen slots for the cards in the hospital’s machines.