The days of driving around hunting for parking at Calvary Hospital look set to come to an end with the ACT government setting aside $19 million for a 700-vehicle car park in next week's budget.
Chief Minister Katy Gallagher and Treasurer Andrew Barr have announced Tuesday's budget will include $19 million for a multi-storey car park to be built on the Calvary Bruce hospital campus as well as upgrades to the electrical substation on the campus.
The car park will see a significant expansion of parking spaces with room for an extra 530 vehicles.
Ms Gallagher said the extra parking would pave the way for continued investment and expansion of services at Calvary Public Hospital, the territory's second acute public hospital, to meet demand in Canberra's major growth areas.
She said the $19 million would deliver extra parking in 2015-16 and enable the campus' electrical substation to be upgraded "to support increased demand from additional clinical services and equipment".
“This investment will not only deliver additional car spaces in 2015-16, but will enable plans for additional clinical service capacity for the Calvary Public Hospital to proceed. This includes plans for more outpatient services and more inpatient beds to improve health services over the coming years,” Ms Gallagher said.
“This investment forms part of the Health Infrastructure Program, which is the most significant infrastructure investment in the healthcare system in Canberra’s history. This project is another example of this government’s commitment to deliver high-quality infrastructure for our future."
Deputy Opposition Leader Alistair Coe welcomed the funding, but said it was long overdue.
"People have been battling for proper parking at Calvary for a long time. Given the government’s record delivering infrastructure I hope the cost doesn’t blow out like the cost of the car park at the Canberra Hospital," he said.
“The government also needs to make sure it does a better job during construction providing parking for hospital users and construction workers.”
Calvary Hospital chief financial officer Wayne Armistead said the funding for the new car park was "fantastic news" for not only users of the hospital, but also in terms of its future.
"The strategy for car parking is absolutely critical to any continued investment and expansion of health services of the northside," he said.
"Anyone who has actually experienced trying to find a park at different times in this precinct, it's just been a real nightmare.
"The positive thing in this is that it's future planning so when the build is completed in 2015-16, we're going to have the ability to continue to expand and invest in the precinct as is planned."
It was not known when construction on the car park would begin but the build was expected to take 12 months, Mr Armistead said.
Ms Gallagher said the Calvary Network Agreement, signed by the ACT government and the Little Company of Mary Health Care in 2011, ensured "services and capacity continue to expand to meet the health and hospital services demand in the Canberra’s north".