More than 200 carparks cut; no alternative plans in place

An artist’s impression of the new Dunedin Hospital. PHOTO: ODT FILES
An artist’s impression of the new Dunedin Hospital. PHOTO: ODT FILES
More than 200 car parks have been cut from the new Dunedin hospital, while separate plans for a multi-storey parking building appear to have stagnated.

The new hospital’s detailed business case from 2021 included 250 dedicated parks, a similar number to the current hospital.

It is a figure long-criticised as inadequate. The business case also stated further parking was being explored separately.

However, as part of the Government’s scramble to save $90 million on the project — now changed to $80 million following backlash — most of the car parks have been cut.

Meanwhile, the effort to find a private company to build and operate a parking building for staff and patients, launched in 2021, has yet to be completed.

Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand (HNZ) would not say how many parks were now planned, but a September 2022 document from project management firm RCP released under the Official Information Act stated a capacity of 16 pick-up and drop-off parks and 22 emergency department parking spaces, including five mobility parks.

"While car parking has reduced, it is noted that recent legislation change has removed the requirement for hospital car parking from the district plan," it said.

The plan to provide 250 car parks, including ambulance bays and truck docks, would "require revisiting", and alternative car parking had not been allowed for.

HNZ Southern’s clinical and operational impact statement from September last year described the "significant reduction" in parking as a key risk.

The amount saved by removing parking was unknown; HNZ declined to provide a detailed breakdown of hospital cuts earlier this month, citing commercial sensitivity.

HNZ delivery of infrastructure and investment group director Monique Fouwler did not specify how many parks were included in the new hospital plan when asked by the Otago Daily Times.

"Access to car parking for patients, whānau and staff is a very important consideration for the new Dunedin hospital project team.

"In addition to any proposed car park building, there will also be pick-up/drop-off parks at both the outpatient and inpatient buildings and emergency department car parks."

The former Southern District Health Board (SDHB) released a registration of interest (ROI) in 2021 to identify potential partners to build and own a multi-storey car parking building and manage the parking services after its completion, she said.

"The ROI advised that it is anticipated that it will be multi-storey, have sufficient parks to meet the projected demand and allow for parking of cars, motorcycles and bicycles."

In April last year, the SDHB unveiled a master plan for a central city health and education precinct, which included a 500-vehicle parking facility.

However, the specific number of parks was still to be researched, Ms Fouwler said.

Following feedback from the ROI process, HNZ was now reviewing car parking requirements for the new hospital and would engage with the market as required.

This follows an update from HNZ in January that no tender had been awarded for the car parking building and it was reviewing feedback from the ROI.

It was unknown when the build was likely to begin and the 500-park figure was indicative only, a spokesman said at the time.