Visitors to Burnaby Hospital will soon find free parking on the streets around the facility, after a vote from city council to remove dozens of parking meters.
The plan includes increasing the price of other meters nearby from $1.50 an hour to $2.00 to make up for the lost revenue.
The councillors' decision follows an online campaign by a website advocating for the removal of pay parking at all hospitals across the province.
"Pay parking is a user fee that discriminates. Only hospital patients and their supporters pay the fee," according to the website, hospitalpayparking.ca.
Burnaby councillors voted unanimously to remove the meters, but some had reservations.
Councillor James Wang said in his personal experience, even with the parking meters, spots are often difficult to find around the hospital.
"It's very, very, limited meter parking," said Wang.
Councillor Sav Dhaliwal agreed with Wang that non-hospital users visiting the residential and commercial properties nearby might exploit the free parking. He suggested a big sign that reminds people the free parking is a courtesy for hospital visitors.
The meters will be replaced with signs that limit drivers to two hours of parking.
The meters will be removed on both sides of Ingleton Avenue and the north side of Kincaid Street, adjacent to the emergency parking lot. In total, 33 spots will become free.
The parking lots at the hospital will remain pay parking.
"It's unfortunate that we cannot do anything with the expensive parking on hospital grounds," said councillor Pietro Calendino, "but we can certainly address the parking issue on the adjacent streets which is under our jurisdiction."
The councillors seemed to agree that the plan could be reviewed in six months or a year.
"If it doesn't work , we can try to find something else," said Dhaliwal.