Additional hospital car parks sought as vehicles 'stacked up like sardines'

Wednesday November 13, 2019

Published by The Border Watch

By Sandra Morello

STACKED LIKE SARDINES: Cars parked on grassed areas at Mount Gambier Hospital. Picture: MOLLY TAYLOR


MEMBER for Mount Gambier Troy Bell has sparked calls for additional carpark spaces to be rolled out at the city’s hospital amid vehicles being “stacked up like sardines”.

The call comes nearly 10 years since the carpark was significantly expanded following a decade-long community campaign.

Motorists are now parking on grassed areas and squeezing into non-carpark areas around the busy hospital or on adjacent streets.

“I believe it is outrageous the State Government is spending $70m to upgrade carparks around metropolitan hospitals and yet nothing for regional South Australia,”

Mr Bell said.

“It is clear we have some issues regarding parking at the Mount Gambier Hospital, as people are coming into my office telling me they’re unable to find a park and they’re having to park a long way away from the hospital itself.”

“A number of people have also told me their car has been damaged because the parks are so narrow.

“We need to extend what we have, so there is more spaces and also look at the width of the parks,” Mr Bell said.

“The State Government has acknowledged this is a problem and I will be speaking about it to the Health Minister Stephen Wade, who will be in Mount Gambier next Monday.”

He argued it would not take a lot of funding to grade and bitumen surrounding grassed areas to increase the space available.

“However, with more parks, we also need to look at increased lighting and safety, so that cars coming in and out of the facility are doing so in a safe manner and our nursing staff are able to get to their car safely, particularly at night,” Mr Bell said.

During parliament, cabinet minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said car parking at a hospital was an important issue.

“It is a challenging issue in metropolitan areas. We have made some significant improvements in that regard,” Mr van Holst Pellekaan said.

He said the issue was complex because some people needed long stay car parks and others wanted to park close to the hospital.

“I have visited the hospital myself - certainly not in my role as minister representing the Minister for Health and Wellbeing but for other reasons I visited that hospital myself.

“At that time, there were no apparent challenges with regard to car parking at the hospital, but that certainly might have changed.

Mr van Holst Pellekaan was “more than happy” to speak to Mr Wade on the issue.

“I suppose, if it has been deemed there is a need to change or to upgrade the car parking Mount Gambier and, if so, what the plan to address that issue is,” he said.

The Border Watch contacted Mr Wade’s office for comment.

But a Limestone Coast Local Health Network says the issue is on its radar.

We are aware of the need for additional car-parking at Mount Gambier Hospital and are considering a range of options to meet current demand,” the statement said.