• John Jantak

New CLSC parking fees upset some area residents


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Clients who park at the new CLSC will be charged $4 for a period between zero to three hours, $6 for three to five hours and $8 for a whole day. An area has also been set aside to drop off and pick up clients without charge.

The prospect of having to pay for parking when the new CLSC medical facility opens its doors to the public on September 30 in Vaudreuil-Dorion has upset some area residents who feel the fees are unjustified. “It’s just a money grab,” said Pam Sidhu-Mahal, spokesperson for the Vaudreuil Residents Action Group (VRAG).

“People are going for medical services at their CLSC which are free. Why do we have to pay for parking? Is there something great about the parking lot that you have to pay for it? It’s ridiculous and obviously not right.”

The CLSC, which is presently located on Harwood Boulevard, is moving to 3031 Boulevard de la Gare – across the street from Wal-Mart – as part of an initiative by the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Health and Social Services Centre (CSSS) to consolidate the various health services that are provided in five different locations throughout Vaudreuil-Dorion and centralize them under one roof.

Clients who park at the new CLSC will be charged on a sliding scale depending upon the amount of time they spend at the facility - $4 for a period between zero to three hours, $6 for three to five hours and $8 for a whole day.

The parking fees are being implemented under a directive that was issued by the provincial Ministry of Health that requires pay parking at all health buildings, and will also apply to the health care providers who will work at the centre, said CSSS Communications Officer Marianne Montpellier.

“We’re aware a lot of people are not happy with the fees but we can’t do anything about it,” Montpellier told Your Local Journal. “The government obliges us to charge for parking at the new facility and we have to comply with their directive. We don’t have a choice.”

Montpellier said as an alternative, people can park on nearby residential streets and walk about 10 minutes to the CLSC or take public transit which will stop in front of the building. Certain spots have also been reserved close to the facility to allow clients with mobility issues to be dropped off and picked up from their appointments without charge for up to 20 minutes.

Sidhu-Mahal expects many people will park at the nearby shopping mall to avoid the fee. “People will park at the Wal-Mart and walk across the street,” she said. “Pay parking is detrimental. People are going to argue that you have to pay for parking when you go to the hospital downtown or the West Island. This isn’t a hospital. It’s a CLSC. It completely negates the purpose of free medical care.”

While the fees may seem insignificant to some, resident Gary Machado said it will negatively impact low wage earners and people living on fixed incomes, particularly the elderly.

“It may not seem like a lot but for people who are on social disability or retired, if you have to go to the CLSC frequently, it takes money out of your pocket,” said Machado. “I think we’re taxed heavily enough and we shouldn’t have to pay for parking.”

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