Advocate says new parkade at Halifax hospital will reduce accessibility
HALIFAX -- The decision to spend millions to construct a new parking garage at a Halifax hospital is being met with some concern.
Thursday, Nova Scotia's Minister of Transportation Infrastructure Renewal announced government had approved nearly $30 million to build a new parkade across from the Halifax Infirmary site of the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre.
Now, questions are being asked about the project and the accessibility of it. Some fear the parkade could create barriers.
"My fear is if they move this parking across the street like that, it's going to hang some people out to dry," said accessibility activist Paul Vienneau.
Vienneau says the current parkade is adjacent to the hospital and the change will create a barrier for people with mobility issues, who will need to cross a busy street to get to the infirmary.
"I'm OK if that parking lot needs to come down for operating rooms and everything, because those are really important, but just as important to the hospital experience is being able to get in with a minimum amount of hassle and trouble," he said.
The new parkade will have up to 900 parking spaces and will sit on the current parking lot of the Museum of Natural History.
That's close to the Wanderers Grounds and the Halifax Junior Bengal Lancers stables.
"I guess in the short term during construction there will probably will be some impacts, but in the long term we're hopeful there won't be," said Lloyd Hines, the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.
For their part, the Halifax Wanderers Football Club says: "We have been aware for some time that the parking garage was a possibility and we will work with our neighbours at the hospital and museum to ensure construction does not negatively impact the game-day experience for our fans at the Wanderers Grounds."
During construction, a temporary parking lot will be built on a green space on the side of the museum.
The parking lot is on land that used to be part of the Halifax Common.
"As our city densifies in the urban centre, we have to make sure that our citizens have access to green space and that we aren't just completely densifying and developing and kind of leaving out all access to parks," said Meredith Baldwin of the Ecology Action Centre.
Government says a tender for the new parkade will be issued early next year.