11 Sep 2020

Govt to alleviate parking woes at Christchurch Hospital

4:29 pm on 11 September 2020

The government has announced they will provide 1000 new car parks for Christchurch Hospital.

Christchurch Hospital.

Christchurch Hospital. Photo: RNZ / Karen Brown

Parking was significantly reduced after the earthquakes - forcing patients, visitors and staff to park far away and walk, or catch a shuttle to the hospital.

Some nurses and other hospital staff even arrive at work hours early and sleep in their cars in order to get a park.

Housing Minister Megan Woods speaks to media during a press conference on Budget 2020 delivery day at Parliament May 14, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand.

Megan Woods Photo: Pool / Hagen Hopkins / Getty Images

Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration Megan Woods has announced two more floors will be added to the staff car park on Antigua Street which will add 238 spaces.

She also unveiled plans for a new 450 space public car park to be developed and managed by Ngāi Tahu Property a block away from the hospital.

Woods said the solutions are long overdue but will go a long way to mitigate issues.

"It's a priority for the people of Christchurch, the fact we have staff who don't feel safe leaving shift work to go to their cars. We have people trying to get to appointments at the hospital who haven't been able to find parking so this has been a big priority for me."

Work is under way to ensure when the staff building is closed for the expansion there will be a temporary space for staff to park, she said.

The government has committed $14.25 million towards the two projects.

Many more parks needed - union

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation spokeswoman Cheryl Hanham said it had been frustrating waiting for a solution - but it's good to finally see progress.

"I think when you have one of the busiest emergency departments in the Southern Hemisphere that adding a building with 450 parks is not enough. It's a start but it's by no means going to meet the needs of such a busy hospital."

Hanham said after a spate of assaults over recent years, some nurses don't feel safe walking to and from their cars.

"We'd like to see some assurances that some of the new parks will be for nursing staff, there's certainly nowhere as many as we need. We also would like to see an increase in security over the next two years while we wait for these car parks to get up and running."

Ngāi Tahu Holdings chief executive Mike Pohio said they look forward to releasing designs and getting started on building an urgently needed parking solution in the coming weeks.

"The project is a long-term opportunity for both the Ngāi Tūāhuriri and Ngāi Tahu Property investment portfolios. This is a promising partnership between iwi and Crown that further cements the long-standing relationships we have built over the past two decades throughout Te Waipounamu."

The new car parks along with a park and ride option on Deans Avenue bring the total available car parks to just under 1500.

The new building and expansion should be complete within two years.

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