Vancouver Coastal Health creates more accessible parking in Squamish

D'Arcy McCrea and Heidi Butler standing next to the new accessible parking spaces at Squamish General Hospital

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) has increased the accessible parking at Squamish General Hospital (SGH) from two to five spots, levelled the parking area, and painted a crosswalk from the parking area to the hospital.

Bridget Haley poses for a photo with her walker in her home
“What they’ve done is just fantastic, now that it’s flat, she can get in and out of the car, no problem, and get her walker out. With the pedestrian walkway to the front entry, it works really well.”

- Mike Haley, whose wife, Bridgit, uses a walker

Mike Haley brought up the accessible parking at SGH at a meeting of disability advocates, including D’Arcy McCrea, a VCH Community Engagement Advisory Network volunteer and patient advisor. D’Arcy worked on the accessible parking issue with VCH for more than a year.

“The community loves it. The accessible parking is being used by those who need it. It’s fabulous,” says McCrea. “I just wanted to give something back to the health-care system. I had two ruptured aneurisms, and I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for B.C. health care.” 

VCH Coastal Director Heidi Butler says construction for the spots took about a month, as VCH pivoted from the original parking plan to reallocate funds towards creating additional accessible spaces.

Heidi Butler and D'Arcy McCrea pose for a photo in front of a hedge
“It’s really important, we don’t want our patients to be parking in places that present challenges for them in getting to the hospital. The spots are full with people with accessibility logos on their vehicles - so they’re being used appropriately by people who need them.”

- Heidi Butler, VCH Coastal Director

Victoria Morris-Ott – whose husband, Frank Manuel, has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and is in a power wheelchair – says the new parking makes a big difference in her life.

“Oh my heavens, it’s so much easier,” she says. “What I had to do previously was drop him at the front, put my flashers on, and get him settled – then go back and find a parking spot. I couldn’t open my ramp on the incline of the previous parking spots. It’s much safer. I really do appreciate how they got on this so quickly.”

According to the BC Government, 20.5% of British Columbians between the ages of 15 and 64 live with a disability and researchers say approximately 46,000 people in B.C. use a wheelchair or scooter.

This work is just one of the many steps that VCH is taking to become increasingly inclusive and to remove and prevent barriers to accessibility. For more information on Accessibility Services at VCH, please see our website.