Review: car parking triumph
YEAR IN REVIEW: BY THE middle of 2011, finding a free car park at the Bundaberg Hospital became akin to finding a winning Lotto ticket, prompting action.
The NewsMail demanded something be done in August, starting a petition demanding the State Government provide the hospital with adequate infrastructure.
Patients and visitors alike told tales of spending at least 15 minutes looking for a park, others spoke about how they ended up parking near the Mater Hospital and walking down.
Meadowvale cancer patient Jenny Heath told the NewsMail at the time that walking a long way back to the car after treatment was "not fun".
"For anybody who is sick or older, it can be difficult," she said.
Kalkie woman Dianne Farmer, who suffered a muscular condition, lamented the fact all the disability parking spaces were often also all taken.
"There is a gentle incline which makes walking to the hospital very hard (for me)," she said.
Businesses near the hospital expressed their frustration with the parking situation, saying it was inconveniencing customers and potentially costing them business.
Health Minister Geoff Wilson refused a meeting with politicians and civic leaders about the parking situation.
While signatures racked up, Queensland Health repeatedly emphasised that 25 more public car parks would be opened when the new rehabilitation ward redevelopment was finished and a further 30 would be finished with the completion of the Bundaberg Regional Cancer Centre in 2012.
After almost two months of campaigning and almost 2800 signatures on the News Mail petition, Mr Wilson announced a car park with 130 new spaces would be built.
Construction on the $230,000 car park started in late November and was expected to be open for business early in the new year.
But rain has delayed work on the site.
The car park was not the only development news from Bundaberg Hospital in 2011.
A more than $50 million development of the hospital was finally completed with the opening of the new rehabilitation ward in August 2011.
The expansion was more than two years overdue.
But Wide Bay Health Service District CEO Ken Whelan put the delay down to changing the plans to add more services and due to the weather.