ABOYNE – Officials hope to offer free parking at the new Groves Memorial Community Hospital, but nothing is certain.
“The [hospital] board has not made a decision on whether to charge for parking at the new site,” stated Stephen Street, president of Groves and the Wellington Health Care Alliance.
Some area residents have expressed concern about the possibility of parking fees at the new hospital.
In a Sept. 27 statement to the media, Street explained the “goal” is for parking to remain free, as it currently is at Groves hospital in Fergus and at Wellington North Health Care hospitals in Mount Forest and Palmerston.
“A final decision will be made upon completion of funding negotiations with the Ministry of Health,” stated Street.
It is not uncommon for hospitals to use parking fees to cover associated maintenance/operating expenses and to generate additional revenue.
Hospitals close to Wellington County that have parking fees include:
- Guelph General Hospital, $2.50 per 30 minutes, up to a maximum of $12.25 per day;
- Headwaters Health Care Centre in Orangeville, $3 for the first 30 minutes and $1.25 for each additional 30 minutes, up to a daily maximum of $8; and
- Listowel Memorial Hospital, $2 dollars.
Parking can be an important source of revenue for hospitals.
For instance, in the 2018-19 fiscal year, Headwaters raised almost $358,000 in net revenue ($946,159 in gross revenue, minus $588,193 in operating expenses), according to its website, which was used to help pay for “patient services”.
New Groves progress
Community efforts have raised the required local 10 per cent share of the cost of the Groves project. Fundraising has exceeded $18 million, which is 90 per cent of the Groves Hospital Foundation’s overall goal of $20 million.
The foundation is now focused on raising funds to purchase equipment and technology to outfit the facility.
The new Groves hospital remains on track to open next spring.