$469,000 cycle centre debuts at Vancouver General Hospital
Kevin MacDuff, HR Manager at Vancouver Coastal Health, seen here at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) Cycling Centre in Vancouver, B.C. on Sunday May 25, 2014. The new facility has room for 182 bikes, showers and a meeting room to encourage a healthy mode of transportation. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
"It’s not just physical health, it’s emotional community health. I think when people can get out of their cars, when people can get out of the bus, it’s a healthy start of the day — it’s really valuable." — Arthur Orsini, Cambie Corridor Consortium
What had been Vancouver General Hospital’s laundry room has been transformed into a cycling centre with showers, lockers and secure bike storage for the hospital community’s thousands of employees — and just in time for the start of Bike to Work Week on Monday.
Vancouver Coastal Health human resources manager Kevin MacDuff said on Sunday the $469,000 project renovated an old building on 10th Avenue that has sat vacant ever since VCH contracted out laundry services 15 years ago.
It’s now filled with enough space to park 182 bikes, with tools both inside and outside the building.
Inside, there are 105 storage lockers for the centre’s members to store their smelly clothes after a long — but healthy — trip to work on two wheels.
The presence of both men’s and women’s shower facilities mean employees can feel refreshed before they put on their hospital smocks.
MacDuff said the goal is to get more of the hospital community’s 6,000 health workers to take up pedal-power.
“If we could hit somewhere between 6-10%, that would be brilliant.”
He said Coastal Health is also setting itself up as an example for other agencies and companies.
MacDuff said the facility would be the first of its kind in western Canada, and there’s already been interest from surrounding businesses and residents. VGH is considering whether non-health workers in the community could sign up for paid memberships — which employees will pay about $3 to $11 per month — after the hospital gauges the demand from its own staff.
Operating costs would be covered by the membership fees.
Arthur Orsini with the Cambie Corridor Consortium consulted with VCH on the new facility. He said the upgrades would bring the total bike storage capacity at VGH to about 300 bikes, if existing outdoor bike racks and the hospital’s three bike storage “cages” were included.
There are also workshops held there once monthly for employees to teach them bike-overhaul tips and tricks.
“The key element is that a long-distance, expert cyclist that would cycle in any condition is welcome there, just as people who want to start cycling have a place to ask questions and look for mentoring or guidance,” Orsini added.