Vandalism sparks petition calling for changes to staff parking at Regina General Hospital

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WATCH: A recent act of vandalism has sparked an old petition calling for changes to staff parking at the Regina General Hospital, garnering thousands of signatures in just days. – Sep 23, 2019

A long-standing issue over a lack of staff parking at the Regina General Hospital (RGH) is once again coming to the forefront, after yet another act of vandalism.

The latest was sparked by a Facebook post from a nurse, showing her car window smashed. According to the post, it happened in a back alley parking spot where she pays a homeowner to park.

It’s since been shared more than 1,000 times with hundreds commenting, causing an old petition to resurface calling for change. That petition has nearly reached its goal of 7,500 signatures in a matter of days.

READ MORE: Concerns heard regarding parking and safety at Regina’s General Hospital

“This has actually gone on now for probably close to two years where the issues have ramped up,” said Tracy Zambory, president of the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses.

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“It’s understandable when people get frustrated,” Zambory said. “I hope that we can have some more dialogue around what is available.”

Earlier this year, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) tweaked its Park and Ride service, making it more accommodating for staff working late at night.

“We’ve implemented a voucher program so staff members can get back to our Park and Ride location and they get a taxi voucher at no charge to them,” said Dale Orban, SHA security and parking services manager.

“For Park and Ride it runs from 6:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m., the vouchers are available before and after. We realize that we’re not going to be able to sign everybody up and some people won’t like it and some people won’t even try it, but we will do everything we can to get them on it and give them a safe place to park.”

Orban adds the Park and Ride users also have access to the RGH on-site gated and scramble parking lots between 2 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. on weekdays and full access on weekends and statutory holidays.

With a multi-million dollar parkade not in the cards anytime soon, Zambory says there needs to give and take on both sides.

READ MORE: Trouble finding parking at Regina General Hospital? There’s an app for that

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“It can’t all just be what employees of RGH want and it can’t just all be what RGH or the SHA wants,” Zambory said. “There are all of these factors we need to look at and not just always acquiesce to I have to take my own vehicle.

“The Park and Ride is the most viable solution. We realize that doesn’t fit in everybody’s life all of the time but there are ways to try and work through so that Park and Ride will work. The important thing is the employer is willing to work with their employees to make the Park and Ride work as well as it can.”

While it’s not just nurses complaining about parking tickets, long walks to vehicles and vandalism, the SHA does provide other options like its Salk Walk program, hoping to strike a balance and find common ground.

“It’s about keeping your wits about you, common sense, safety — something everybody should be doing wherever they are in the city,” Orban said.

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