Nelson Hospital’s main public carpark was bursting at the seams on Friday morning, but some relief could be on the way. Photo: Kate Russell.

More parking for hospital

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A “desperate” parking situation at Nelson Hospital is set to be alleviated, with the NMDHB confirming that more public car parks could be on the way.

Last month, the board approved a proposal to expand public parking at the hospital, without having to reduce parking for staff.

“We have some ideas about what could be done,” Eric Sinclair, NMDHB’s general manager of finance performance and facilities told the Nelson Weekly. “We can’t go into greater detail at this stage as there are still factors to finalise.”

Parking has become a bone of contention for patients and visitors at Nelson Hospital.
The Weekly talked to several frustrated drivers on Friday morning, including local elderly woman Molly Balderstone, who had come to visit the emergency doctor.

But there were no free carparks.

After driving around in circles, Molly eventually parked on the other side of the hospital and caught a hospital shuttle buggy to the other side.

“It’s always very difficult to find a park here. I need to go all the way to the other side, but I can’t walk that far up the hill.”

Another local woman, Lee Waby, describes the parking situation as “desperate”.

“I’m up and down from the hospital all the time and I usually have to park on the road and leave my 79-year-old husband down there because he can’t walk up.”

Nelson Weekly observed dozens of drivers give up on finding a parking space and make their way down to Tipahi or Franklyn Streets – where even finding a park on the grassy verge of The Broads was a rare find.

According to the NMDHB, there are 219 public car parks (16 of which are mobility carparks) and 170 carparks reserved for staff or hospital business, at Nelson Hospital.

The last time more parks were added was five years ago, when Dalton House was demolished.

Peter says the pressure on parking is due to the large number of people attending outpatient appointments, but the configuration and topography of the hospital campus has always been a “constraining factor” in providing more spaces.

Meanwhile, shuttle buggy driver Eric Peterson says they are always there to drive people up the hill and suggests patients should allow more time to get to their appointments.

“I know it’s not easy, but unfortunately that’s just the way it is until we get more parking.”