Gary Hee has reached his goal of 2.500 signatures on a petition against hospital parking fees in Langley. Dan Ferguson Langley Advance Times

Gary Hee has reached his goal of 2.500 signatures on a petition against hospital parking fees in Langley. Dan Ferguson Langley Advance Times

Campaign against Langley hospital parking fees reaches goal of 2,500 signatures

Organizer Gary Hee plans to deliver the document to Victoria next week

Gary Hee has pased his goal of 2,500 signatures on a petition against parking fees for emergency room patients at Langley Memorial Hospital.

As of Sunday, more than 3,000 had signed.

“I’m jubilant,” Hee said.

“I can relax, and look after my house and not have to get up so early.”

Since April 12, he has been circulating a petition among Langley residents that calls on the provincial government, Langley Memorial Hospital Board and the mayors and councils of the City and Township of Langley “to implement ways and means to collaborate to remove parking fees placed upon us or our vehicles while attending the hospital emergency department premises for medical reasons during and up to a four hour period.”

Hee said he wanted to have 2,500 signatures by the time he turned 75 in July.

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It was more than double the number of names he collected when he last led a petition campaign, against bridge tolls, in 2017.

Hee said he set his goal at that number because he wanted to make it high enough that the provincial government would pay attention.

He intends to deliver the petition to Victoria next week, and while he has suspended his sidewalk campaign, he is still collecting names online.

Hee also worked on the FightHST petition campaign in 2009, and launched his own petition campaign for a crosswalk at the corner of 72nd Avenue and 196th Street on the Surrey-Langley border in 2014.

He has said this will likely be his last campaign.

“I don’t think I have any more energy to carry on after that (turning 75),” Hee said.

Hee hit a few roadblocks on the road to 3,000 names.

He said he was ordered off the premises when he tried to get signatures at Langley Memorial Hospital, and some seniors homes did the same.

Fraser Health spokesperson Tasleem Juma explained the health authority has a policy against such activity because it needs to ensure patients, visitors and employees can easily access the hospital for care.

“People who wish to sell products, distribute materials or in this case, have a petition signed, are asked to be offsite,” Juma said.

“This usually means on the sidewalk across the street, so it doesn’t interfere with patient access,” she added.

After that, Hee took his campaign to local sidewalks parking lots, using his truck as a mobile billboard, as well as using his website http://garybhee.ca .

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