As many are aware, the CISSSO Board of Directors has decided that the Shawville hospital must impose parking fees on visitors and workers in order to be standard with city hospitals. This pay-to-park scheme is to be implemented in the near future, despite the hospital being located in a rural area that offers free parking everywhere and anywhere.
In addition to nickle-and-diming Pontiac residents and healthcare workers with their parking scheme, CISSSO has decided to further punish our region by shuttering the Pavillon du Parc facility located in Shawville. This decision, as reported by local media, is going to force some patients and families apart from one another by necessitating patients move outside of our region to a new facility! It would seem that there is a need right here, right now, for these services– services that CISSSO feels should be prioritized for the other areas it administers. I intend to visit this insensitive decision a great deal more in the future.
Rural areas are increasingly facing economic challenges compared to their urban cousins, and recent decisions taken by CISSSO only serve to further squeeze a population that is already being squeezed by taxation and industry changes.
However, I am optimistic with what lies ahead.
After forcing local residents to travel to their Gatineau Office on January 27th, CISSSO offered some token half-answers to a number of questions relating to paid-parking at the Shawville hospital. CISSSO also saw first-hand (possibly for the first time) actual people who were being affected by the decisions they were taking.
Following this meeting, which was attended by local residents and union reps, CISSSO is now pushing back the implementation of their paid-parking scheme by one month. This is a small, but significant measure that buys us time to further explore avenues to deal with the unfair treatment we are receiving. More significant is that this concession should serve as notice for us to redouble our efforts! We’ve achieved something we can build upon, and more people are joining our cause.
It is inspiring to see members of Pontiac Voice and the community at large work together towards correcting this injustice. Community pressure has met with some success already and we must continue this fight.