SHAWVILLE – Since it was first established in the 1940’s, the Pontiac Community Hospital has offered free parking for staff, patients, and visitors. However, the service will soon be coming to an end following the adoption of a policy by the Centre Intégré de la santé et des services sociaux de l’Outaouais’ (CISSSO) Board of Directors, November 24.
By the end of March 2017, paid parking will be implemented at the hospital. However, the measure will not be instated at the neighbouring senior’s residence (Pontiac Reception Centre) or the region’s CLSCs.
According to Geneviève Côté, CISSSO Media Relations Agent, the decision was made to make the Shawville hospital’s parking policy consistent with otherhospitals within the CISSSO.
“The CISSSO was created in April 2015, and as a new organization, we feel we need to standardize our procedures. We also had to respect the rules set by the Ministry,” she said. These rules state that parking should be self-funded [the CISSSO should not bear any costs relating to the maintenance, such as snow plowing], that the first 30 minutes be offered free, and any profits from the parking fees be used to pay the CISSSO deficit.
The maximum daily rate in Shawville will be $4, compared to $15 at the Gatineau Hospital, and will cost full-time employees about $8 every two weeks, compared to $15 in Gatineau. However, Côté stressed that employees are not obligated to pay for parking and will not be charged if they choose to park elsewhere, walk, or bike to work.
According to Shawville’s Dr. O’Neill, the measure represents yet another top down decision. “[It demonstrates] the total lack of control [we have] in our region… a lot has been taken away, but not much has been given back,” he said, referring to the merger of the Outaouais’ hospitals to form the CISSSO.
The CISSSO is unsure when the construction to modify the parkinglot will begin, and the price tag is yet to be determined.