Surrey mayor follows through on free parking promise
'This was a promise that my team and I campaigned on,' says Doug McCallum
Surrey city council has voted unanimously to approve free two-hour parking at city hall and in the area surrounding Surrey Memorial Hospital.
The decision came in a city council meeting on Monday evening.
"This was a promise that my team and I campaigned on and we have taken immediate action to deliver on it," said Mayor Doug McCallum in a release.
"I firmly believed that people visiting their loved ones at Surrey Memorial Hospital should not pay for parking, nor should our citizens have to pay to park their vehicles when conducting business at their 'house,' which is city hall,"
A city staff report estimated that scrapping paid parking will result in lost revenues of about $850,000 per year.
According to the report, the city operates 827 parking spaces at its city hall parkade, which serves the municipal office, the library, a hotel and a university, as well as other businesses in the area.
Around Surrey Memorial Hospital, the city operates 103 on-street pay parking spaces. Fraser Health and private companies operate another 2,041 spots on city-owned land. The report says the city aims to target those next.
Fraser Health reacts
In a statement, Fraser Health said it had not been contacted by the city, but that it would welcome the opportunity to work with the municipality.
"We also appreciate that some people may struggle to pay for parking, especially when they are dealing with long term illnesses. For this reason, we have a hardship process to waive fees where it poses a genuine challenge to patients and families," a statement read in part.
The statement said that most sites also offer extended stay rates, parking vouchers and subsidized rates for those in financial need.
"Paid parking at hospitals discourages customers and employees of surrounding businesses from parking at our sites, so these stalls are available for patients and their families," it said.
The statement said the funds generated from parking fees cover operating costs to provide safe parking, including lighting, security patrols and repaving. Any additional funds are reinvested into health care programs and services.