There are two interesting footnotes to last week’s conversation around funding for the Royal Inland Hospital master plan.
One is on the public flogging administered to His Worship Peter Milobar for saying parking is a priority at the hospital.
Retribution was swift, to the effect that it’s ridiculous to even discuss parking when there are so many real healthcare issues.
It seems the poor man can say nothing right on the subject of parking. When he wanted to build a parkade in Riverside Park that very few people wanted, it almost cost him his job.
Now, when he talks about parking at the hospital — which everybody in town has been begging be fixed for years — he catches hell for that, too. No wonder he gets cranky.
In my book, Milobar is right when he puts parking in the context of accessibility to healthcare. The best healthcare in the world is of no benefit if you can’t reach it, and you could fill a phone book with the names of those who have had bad experiences trying to park at RIH.
The sorry state of access to the hospital is emphasized by the fact that patients making appointments for medical tests are now advised to arrive at least one hour before they’re scheduled to be at the admitting counter, so that they can get a parking spot.
That’s right — one hour.
The only option is to drive around and around the parkade and grab the first spot that opens up. If all goes well, you’ll find one in about an hour.
But if you have a pickup truck that doesn’t fit under the parkade’s height bar, be prepared to wait even longer for a space to become available in the tiny over-height lot.
I’d like to see an estimate of how much gasoline and diesel is burned in a day by people caught in the RIH parkade merry-go-round.
Anyway, the front-page fracas over Clark’s announcement was a bit of a tempest in a teapot, as she smartly included improvements both to parking and to health services in her promise of $80 million in funding for the first phase of the expansion.
Of course, none of it starts, conveniently, until after next spring’s election. In the meantime, let’s cut the mayor a little slack — he’s determined to get on the right side of a parking issue somewhere.
The second footnote of interest is that you won’t find a City councillor — especially the mayor, who even included RIH in his campaign platform last fall — who doesn’t have an opinion on RIH and who isn’t happy about the announcement.
But the same council has, thus far, steadfastly resisted taking a position on the Ajax mine.
One reason is, purportedly, that all the facts on Ajax aren’t in. Another is that council has no jurisdiction over mining.
Here’s a news flash — all the facts aren’t in yet on RIH either. The master plan is conceptual. And, council has no more jurisdiction over healthcare than it does on mining.
Maybe there’s an internal policy manual somewhere in city hall listing those issues over which council has no jurisdiction that it will express an opinion on, and those it won’t. Posting it on the website would be good.