New Brunswick

Saint John Hospital reverses course and opens disabled parking lot

The cones are gone at the Saint John Regional Hospital, meaning a new parking lot for disabled users is now in use and free, even though there's no gate in place.

On Monday, hospital officials said the lot wouldn't open until a gate was installed

The parking lot at the Saint John Regional Hospital for disabled people was full on Tuesday. (Brian Chisholm/CBC)

The cones are gone at the Saint John Regional Hospital, meaning a new parking lot for disabled users is now in use and free, even though there's no gate in place.

Until Tuesday, the lot — carved from a lawn area next to the hospital's main entrance — was not in use, even though it had been paved and painted for the last month.

The gate was needed to ensure people would pay for parking.

The empty lot raised the ire of people who found it difficult to use less-convenient parking across the street from the hospital.

"My wife is very sick, she has Huntington's and we have to make a lot of trips down here," David Brown told CBC News on Monday.

He drives in from the Dutch Valley, near Sussex Corner.

"To try to get a parking place close, where she's got special shoes and all this, it's very hard," said Brown.

On Monday, Horizon Health Network, the health authority in charge of the hospital, said that opening the parking lot for free was not in the cards.

"They do not want to set a precedent and because parking is paid for, they need a gate," said spokeswoman Sarah Logan.

This morning, John McGarry the CEO of the Horizon Health Network, tweeted the parking lot was open for use.

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