Gary Hee said his petition against hospital parking fees will likely be his last campaign. (Photo: Dan Ferguson)

More than 4,200 names on Surrey man’s petition to end hospital parking fees

Hee falls short of 5,000-signature goal, but feels it’s enough

Gary Hee was a man on a mission.

That mission took him from hospital parking lot to hospital parking lot across the Lower Mainland to collect signatures.

Now, he says, that quest is over. His petition garnered 4,281 signatures—719 short of his goal—but he feels it’s enough.

Hee started his petition earlier this year in an effort to end parking fees in provincial hospital emergency parking lots. His mission started at Langley Memorial, but then quickly moved to other hospitals.

“When I saw the parking fees alone were high, then the fines were high, then the extra fines for not paying within a week were high, I did some research and found out it was a big problem.”

Hee said the parking management companies add a higher fine if the bill isn’t paid within a set period.

“They add a fine on top of the parking ticket. That’s not legal because it’s a private company and not a law enforcement company.”

The 75-year-old added these companies work on commission and said they are “eager to make more money,” which comes at the cost of legality and fairness.

“I call it scamming people,” he said. “It’s callous—especially when people are at a low point, rushing into use an emergency service.”

Hee added the ticket isn’t a ticket in the way the public thinks of, and understands, parking ticketing.

“There are no set regulations. Some people pay the ticket, not knowing that they could get away without paying for it because it’s not actually a ticket—it’s an invoice,” Hee said. “These (companies) are not law enforcement agencies. They are parking management companies who issue parking invoices because they make commission. It’s in their best interest to give tickets. So they sit there and watch people.”

This is not the first petition Hee has championed.

Hee worked with Bill Vander Zalm on the fight to rescind the harmonized sales tax, he fought against the tolls on the Port Mann, and he’s been involved with a few other petitions.

Hee said he raises these ruckuses because someone has to stand up for the little guy.

Hee lost his seemingly insurmountable battle against million-dollar parking companies and the Fraser Health Authority on the provincial level earlier this year when his petition was presented to Victoria Lee, president and CEO of Fraser Health. At that time, Hee had more than 3,000 signatures.

“She said the contract with Imperial Parking was signed, sealed, and could not be changed. They have a several-million dollar service contract.”

Instead of being dissuaded from his mission, that door-in-the-face prompted Hee to kick his quest up to the next level. He’d heard about the same parking fine grievances in Ontario, Edmonton, and Calgary. So, after a little more research, Hee changed the petition.

“I amended the wording in such a way that Parliament is now the addressee.” Hee ensured the current petition didn’t void previous signatures.

“If the local level refused, I have to represent these people on the next level.”

Hee now wants Parliament to ban ER parking fees and fines by adding a bylaw to the Canada Health Act.

“I want them to abolish the outrageous fines and penalties that parking companies levy against patients seeking medical help.”

At the Cloverdale all-candidates meeting Sept. 25, election hopefuls addressed Hee’s petition.

John Aldag, MP for Cloverdale-Langley City, said he supports the petition. “I’ve heard from many people—that when they go to emergency—that having to pay for parking, presents issues and problems for them. People are in a desperate time.”

Conservative-hopeful Tamara Jansen also said she supports the initiative. “When you’re going to the hospital, it can be a very stressful time and parking fees are the last thing on your mind,” she said. “Anything that makes it easier for families when they are in a crisis time … is very important.”

As of Oct. 2, Hee noted his signature-quest had ended.

“I completed my tour of seven regional hospitals in the Fraser Valley and Greater Vancouver areas,” he said. “Now, I have shut down my petitioning efforts as summer weather conditions have come and gone.”

He added he’s grateful for all the support and encouragement he’s received. He said he’ll present it to the next MP for Cloverdale Langley-City after the election.

Now, Hee says, he’ll put his full effort back into running his business.

“Age is only a number, not a hindrance, when the heart is still strong.”



editor@cloverdalereporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Council talks trash: New garbage bylaw in the works

Draft bylaw to be voted on at Monday, May 25 council meeting

UPDATE: Police oversight agency investigating after shots fired Saturday night in Chilliwack neighbourhood

RCMP reported a ‘distraught male’ fired at police officers on Christina Drive – IIO is on scene Sunday

Prospera Credit Union, Westminster Savings lay off over 100 staff following historic merge

2020 merger was largest credit-union merger in Canadian history

‘Service beyond the classroom’: Gerry Palmer wins UFV award

Palmer has been involved with UFV for more than 30 years, starting as an instructor

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

‘Not a joke’: Promoter wants to rocket-launch man the length of White Rock pier

Brooke Colby says he’s building an eight-foot rocket in his backyard

RCMP confirm man dead in Chilliwack shooting incident

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

Boy, 2, left with ‘soft tissue injuries’ after being hit by car in Squamish intersection

Boy was release from hospital, police continue to investigate

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Most Read