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Toll to go, parking fees at QEH will be eliminated

Visitors pay to park at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown
Visitors pay to park at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown

To become effective as of July 1

Visiting a loved one at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown will soon no longer come with a price tag.

Parking fees at the QEH will be eliminated, effective July 1.

It’s an issue backbench MLA Bush Dumville has been championing since first taking office in 2007, raising questions in the legislature virtually every session.

He posed the question once again to Health Minister Robert Henderson Wednesday, noting a hint in Tuesday’s throne speech that promised to “address parking fees at the QEH.”

That’s when Health Minister Robert Henderson delivered the good news, eliciting thunderous applause from all sides of the house.

“I’m exhilarated, I’m completely happy,” Dumville said.

“This is just great for families, people who are on a fixed income, people who go out and visit at the hospital, it’s just a win-win-win. I’m so glad that this booth will be gone.”

The move will equate to $340,000 in savings for Island hospital visitors, but the cost to government will be somewhat less at $250,000.

RELATED: QEH parking fees nickel and dime the sick, families

The health department alongside the education department were flagged in the throne speech as now taking up a whopping 60 per cent of the province’s total spending.

Despite this, Henderson says he is confident his department can absorb this new cost by “finding the resources from within.”

Government decided this was an important issue to Islanders and one he heard about from the first day he was sworn in as minister of health, Henderson said.

“It’s something that has been a contentious issue across Canada when it comes to health care and parking fees, but our government felt it was the time to make the right decision,” he said.

“If people who are at the QEH are getting their supports and family and friends visiting them, we think that may improve the outcome of that particular individual and we just think it’s going to be a positive, good-news story that’s going to benefit Islanders.”

The Opposition Progressive Conservatives also pushed hard against these fees over the last several years, even including a promise to eliminate the QEH parking fees in their campaign platform during provincial election.

Stratford-Kinlock MLA James Aylward recently penned an op-ed piece in The Guardian on the issue, saying he felt the fees were “nickel and diming the families who need the QEH's expert medical care.”

Dumville asked his government last year to extend the grace period for free parking at the hospital from 30 to 60 minutes. A motion in support of this change passed last December in the house.

That’s why the West-Royalty Springvale MLA says he never expected to see the day the fees would be eliminated entirely.

“This was really something that was dear to me since I first became a member… it’s a small toll booth but it’s a big issue to the citizens of Prince Edward Island,” Dumville said.

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

Visiting a loved one at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown will soon no longer come with a price tag.

Parking fees at the QEH will be eliminated, effective July 1.

It’s an issue backbench MLA Bush Dumville has been championing since first taking office in 2007, raising questions in the legislature virtually every session.

He posed the question once again to Health Minister Robert Henderson Wednesday, noting a hint in Tuesday’s throne speech that promised to “address parking fees at the QEH.”

That’s when Health Minister Robert Henderson delivered the good news, eliciting thunderous applause from all sides of the house.

“I’m exhilarated, I’m completely happy,” Dumville said.

“This is just great for families, people who are on a fixed income, people who go out and visit at the hospital, it’s just a win-win-win. I’m so glad that this booth will be gone.”

The move will equate to $340,000 in savings for Island hospital visitors, but the cost to government will be somewhat less at $250,000.

RELATED: QEH parking fees nickel and dime the sick, families

The health department alongside the education department were flagged in the throne speech as now taking up a whopping 60 per cent of the province’s total spending.

Despite this, Henderson says he is confident his department can absorb this new cost by “finding the resources from within.”

Government decided this was an important issue to Islanders and one he heard about from the first day he was sworn in as minister of health, Henderson said.

“It’s something that has been a contentious issue across Canada when it comes to health care and parking fees, but our government felt it was the time to make the right decision,” he said.

“If people who are at the QEH are getting their supports and family and friends visiting them, we think that may improve the outcome of that particular individual and we just think it’s going to be a positive, good-news story that’s going to benefit Islanders.”

The Opposition Progressive Conservatives also pushed hard against these fees over the last several years, even including a promise to eliminate the QEH parking fees in their campaign platform during provincial election.

Stratford-Kinlock MLA James Aylward recently penned an op-ed piece in The Guardian on the issue, saying he felt the fees were “nickel and diming the families who need the QEH's expert medical care.”

Dumville asked his government last year to extend the grace period for free parking at the hospital from 30 to 60 minutes. A motion in support of this change passed last December in the house.

That’s why the West-Royalty Springvale MLA says he never expected to see the day the fees would be eliminated entirely.

“This was really something that was dear to me since I first became a member… it’s a small toll booth but it’s a big issue to the citizens of Prince Edward Island,” Dumville said.

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

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