After being ticketed on two occasions at Royal Inland Hospital parking, even though I had paid for my spot, I decided to look into this issue.
I was in great distress both times as I attended to my elderly parents; one in care and one with me.
The first time I transposed the stall number I was in and the second ticket I received was for parking in a handicap spot, even though I had a valid handicap sticker.
The handicap sticker isn’t on the rearview mirror because it is broken and doesn’t stay there, but was attached to the visor, which we flipped down.
On both occasions, I sent the documentation proving payment (meter receipt) and copy of our handicap sticker to Impark in the provided self-addressed envelope.
We have since been sent to collections.
Impark is impossible to deal with on the phone, with staff saying I should have dealt with it right away, which I did. They then denied that I sent them the documents, claiming I must have sent them to the wrong address.
That is impossible, considering I sent it in Impark’s self-addressed envelopes — twice.
They are expecting me to pay a $57 fine for a $3 parking fee multiplied twice.
I have been in touch with a provincial organization, Hospital Pay Parking (online at hospitalpayparking.ca), which has provided me with information.
Neither Impark nor Interior Health was willing to answer any of my questions.
The first thing we should all know is to read the small print Impark has posted at its sites, where you will find you give up many rights.
The fine print also states it is a private lot, but Impark does not own the lot — Interior Health does. Interior Health rents the meters from Impark, with the health authority receiving the pay parking revenue and Impark receiving meter-rent and fines/towing revenue.
Impark has a heavy incentive in aggressively writing violation tickets. It is an exploitative practice that preys on ill people and their loved ones.
Impark also has the responsibility of maintaining the lots, work that includes filling potholes.
At this point, Impark is is refusing to comply with a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy request from Hospital Pay Parking, a request that has been approved by the Provincial Health Authority.
The request asks for the figures from 2018 on how many vehicles have been ticketed, how many vehicles have been towed and how many potholes have been filled. The group is attempting to ascertain how much money has been milked from patients going to hospitals.
It’s simply not fair to expect patients or visitors to have to pay when they come to hospital when they are suffering personal anxiety, stress or grief.
Put bluntly, a parking charge is often the last thing people need.
I will be calling on Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone, Minister of Health Adrian Dix and Interior Health to end pay parking at Royal Inland Hospital.