April 29, 2015 2:48 pm
Updated: May 11, 2015 1:26 pm

Montreal’s superhospital parking fees under fire

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WATCH: MUHC parking fees under fire

MONTREAL — Parking is pricey at the McGill University Health Centre’s new Glen site.

The maximum daily rate of $25 for the underground lot kicks in after just 90 minutes and many patients and visitors feel they’re getting stung.

“I just paid 50 bucks,” said Louis Lachapelle, who was forced to park quickly when his wife was in labour late Monday.

“I guess it’s expensive but I should have parked downstairs, it’s cheaper!”

Lachapelle said he wished someone had told him about the steep rates in the short-term parking lot across from the entrance, which amount to $10 for every 10 minutes, with a maximum daily rate of $50.

Parking attendants are spending much of their time warning people about the price since there are no clear signs.

Some visitors who can’t afford it are finding creative ways to get around paying for parking.

“I came in my car with my brother, and I’m doing some turns [around the hospital] to avoid the parking fees,” said Nader Hodroj, a proud new uncle to the hospital’s first baby girl.

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Lionel Perez from Montreal’s Executive Committee is planning to contest the high hospital parking fees by tabling a motion at Monday’s borough council meeting, asking the Quebec government to intervene.

“It’s $25 dollars! It’s very expensive for NDG,” said Perez, a city councillor for NDG-CSL.

“For-profit places downtown charge less!”

Perez said he is concerned the high fees will push people to park on neighbouring streets, causing more traffic and noise for local residents.

“We want to make sure that the government ensures the fees aren’t abusive, especially for families,” insisted Perez.

“It shouldn’t be a tax on the sick!”

But the request seems to be falling on deaf ears in Quebec City.

“The prices that I can see today, they are at the high end of the prices that we see and that’s the way it is,” said Quebec’s health minister, Gaetan Barrette.

“That money goes back to the hospital as everybody knows,”

The MUHC insisted the higher fees simply cover the costs of construction, staffing and maintaining the new parking lot.

“We don’t make money off this, we just cover our costs,” said MUHC spokesperson, Ian Popple, while insisting there’s an alternative.

“We have public transport, which works for some people. It’s not ideal for everyone but we have trains, we have metros, we have bus links, there’s a bike path.”

READ MORE: Advocates of people with reduced mobility frustrated at lack of disabled access

One couple from Chateauguay wasn’t shocked by the price.

Alana and Raymond Wright insisted that taking public transit from Montreal’s South Shore would have cost close to the same price as a parking spot.

“It’s expensive, but it compares to all the other hospitals,” said Alana Wright.

“Their old location used to be $21.”

Starting soon, the MUHC has confirmed all its parking lots across the city will be charging the same steeper fees.

© 2015 Shaw Media

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