For Kingston Health Sciences Centre ICU nurse Hannah Green, the past two years of working around the clock, often short-staffed, has been exhausting.
On top of that, finding parking to get to work proves to be a challenge.
“It’s been an issue as long as I’ve been there,” says Green.
“There used to be the courthouse parking lot. It was, I think, $8 to $10 a day. That was nice — it was a close walking distance, and then they jumped that up to $20 a day as well. So, it seems like pennies to some people, but in the end, it really does add up and it just adds to the frustration that’s already there.”
Green has worked at Kingston General Hospital for 12 years and now lives in the countryside with limited access to bus routes.
She says the parking issue affects a lot of health care workers.
“I think a lot of us just don’t understand why we can’t park close to the hospital for an affordable price, or for even an accessible way of doing it,” she says. “You barely have time to have a break, much less run out to the meter.”
When asked for comment on the situation, the City of Kingston responded with a statement.
“While there is no free parking offered by the city in the proximity of Kingston General Hospital, there are long-term parking options for employees working for Kingston Health Sciences Centre,” reads the statement.
“Queen’s University has several long-term parking options available and there are approximately 100 spaces available at St. Mary’s, with an additional 40 spaces in the Union St. parking garage.”
When asked by Global News for comment, the university also responded with a statement.
“Queen’s extends to Kingston Health Sciences Centre employees the same rates and access to on-campus parking as our own university employees,” says the statement.
Some KGH workers have even resorted to using the Kingston Penitentiary parking lot, but the beginning of the tourism season is making that difficult.
“Because we are leasing the property from Correctional Services Canada to run tours and filming, we’re paying over $23,000 a month to lease this property,” says Lanie Hurdle, chief administrative officer for the City of Kingston.
“Therefore, we need to ensure that our customers have access to parking first, and are using this parking,”
Green says she’s calling for the city to provide parking options that would help make the hospital more accessible to both staff and community members, to help make an already tough job a little easier to get to.