$3.5m car park opens

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Welcome change . . Mercy Hospital chief executive Richard Whitney is delighted with the new $3.5 million car park. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

Visitors to Mercy Hospital were greeted with smiles and chocolates to celebrate the opening of the facility’s new $3.5million car park.

After more than six months of construction, the two-tiered, 96-space patient and visitor car park was blessed at a ceremony on Saturday and opened to the public on Monday.

Mercy Hospital chief executive Richard Whitney said providing more car parking for hospital and clinic patients had become a pressing priority, as the hospital campus became busier by the year.

Considerations of health and safety, patient accessibility, neighbourhood relations and resource consent compliance were also taken into account in deciding to proceed with the “significant capital development”, Mr Whitney said.

“The old car park was tarseal on quite a slope, which was a hazard for patients and visitors on icy days,” he said.

“And the pressure on the car park from the steady increase in patients was becoming an issue.”

Designed by architects McCoy & Wixon, the car park borders Burwood Ave and includes a two-level deck structure, which sits 4m below the road level.

Contractor Naylor Love began construction in December 2017 and access to the car park was strictly limited while the work was being done.

The project required 830cu m of concrete, 145m of underground drilling, 1000 truck-loads of excavated and fill material and employed 160 staff.

There had been some “campus fatigue” during the 235 days of construction work, but staff had “accommodated it really well”, Mr Whitney said.

“As much as it has been a hassle, it has been tolerated with good grace by everyone and I’m grateful for that.”

Mr Whitney said extensive landscaping and planting to restore Mercy Hospital’s green environment around the car park would be completed in the next few weeks.

Planting would include holly bushes, silver birch trees, 90 hornbeam trees, sun-loving grasses and coloured flax.

“Once the planting has grown, we will end up with an avenue of trees leading into the car park, and a lot of vegetation that will reduce the visual impact of the car park.

“It is important to keep our green belt and park-like setting.”

It was fortunate that the Mercy Hospital campus had enough space available for the extra car parking to be built, he said.