PARKING problems at Shoalhaven Hospital continue to get worse as the medical precinct expands with apparently little thought or funds for car parks.
Residential streets around the hospital are congested with cars parked in every available space. Patients, staff and visitors are parking further than ever from the hospital as the region’s population outgrows the facility.
The issue has the attention of local MPs Shelley Hancock and Gareth Ward.
“Last time when Gareth and I were down the parking was pretty dismal,” Mrs Hancock said.
“It wasn’t even visiting hours but the car park was full.
“We both said it was time to do something about it.
“In 2011 we got another 115 car parking spaces but complacency is dangerous.”
She said a multi-storey car park similar to what was being built at Wollongong was the likely solution.
However, she did not believe it should be a paid car park.
Mrs Hancock suggested a change was needed in how state government departments prioritised car parking in relation to their developments.
She recalled when she was a councillor in Shoalhaven looking into the hospital redevelopment in the late 1990s.
“At the time Shoalhaven City Council sent a strong message to the state government of the day that a certain amount of car parking spaces would be required,” she said.
“But it was a state government facility and that message was lost.
“The message the government gave council in reply was, ‘Do you want a hospital or a car park?’
“So we were left with a deficiency in car parking and with a growing region and a growing hospital that problem continues to grow.”
Mrs Hancock acknowledged the 115 spaces in 2011 plus the car parking with the cancer centre and the 60 spaces that will come with the new GP Super clinic were not going to make much difference.
“I spoke with Gareth about renewing our endeavour [to get more parking].
“We will continue to lobby for a real solution for the parking there.
“There just aren’t enough spaces. It’s just not adequate.
“We put the government on notice. We are going to up the ante on parking,” she said.