It’s a prime piece of property near the Chilliwack General Hospital, acquired to relieve some of the intense parking pressure in the short-term.
The property at 9005 Mary Street in Chilliwack was just purchased by Fraser Valley Regional Hospital District Board for $1.2 million, confirmed board chair Henry Braun, who is also mayor of Abbotsford.
“We are now the proud owners of this strategically located property.”
Braun said even from the outset, as the board began meetings with Fraser Health officials, it became clear there was a pressing lack of parking around CGH.
“There’s an immediate need for 50 to 75 parking stalls, but this lot will accommodate more.”
Coun. Jason Lum, who is vice chair of the Hospital District Board, said they get “tons and tons” of calls and complaints at city hall about the insufficient parking.
“If you have to park nearby to visit someone in hospital, or you’re in an emergency situation, the last thing you want to be doing is driving around in circles looking for somewhere to park,” said Lum.
It’s a “great acquisition” for the hospital board, Lum said.
Chair Braun agreed.
“I think it will be a good investment,” he said.
The older house on the property was demolished in 2013. It used to be the site of Doctors’ Satellite Medical Clinic, a walk-in clinic near downtown that operated on the site for many years. But the property has been sitting empty since the structure was taken down a couple of years ago.
“It was advertised for sale and we thought it prudent to take a look at it,” said Braun.
The Hospital District board hired a realtor when they found out the owners were motivated to sell, and they closed the sale on the property about a month ago.
The property is zoned C8, which is Health Services Commercial, so will have to be rezoned before it becomes a parking lot.
Braun has served as chair of the Hospital District board for about a year. Hospital District Boards operate under provincial legislation, with a mandate to fund capital projects and hospital equipment purchases.
Gravel will go down on the site when they’re ready to accommodate vehicle parking for hospital patients, visitor as well as staff.
So what, if any, long-term plans are there for the property?
“The hospital is right there, and as the region grows, there will be even more pressure points for parking,” said Braun.
“There maybe a building at some point, but that we haven’t discussed as a board yet,” Braun said. “But they’re not making any more land, so the Hospital Board looked at it, and saw it made sense to buy it and save it for a rainy day.”