This Sunday the Montreal Children’s Hospital will move from its current longtime location to the brand spanking new Glen Campus of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) a few kilometres away. Some hundred patients will be ferried by a fleet of ambulances, departing every three minutes. The details have been worked out to the minute if not the second, and several dry runs have taken place. About a month ago the Royal Victoria Hospital made the move and things went off without a hitch.
By most accounts the new facility is a wonder, even if a few growing pains have to be endured. Having a state of the art health facility nearby is something most people appreciate, but not everybody.
During the several years of construction there was plenty of noise; the driving of over a thousand piles chief among the cacophony. Until we can find a way to erect buildings silently, construction sites are going to be noisy places. However once the major construction was completed a new bit of noise pollution was discovered. It seems the industrial HVAC system that keeps the MUHC heated, ventilated and cooled makes a constant noise, one that has local residents pulling out their hair. I must admit I have walked through the affected neighborhood several times but have not noticed the noise. But I pass no judgement as I understand a stroll through the area and trying to get a night’s sleep there are two entirely different things.
Another cause for concern and complaint has been the increase in traffic. It’s a very large complex, commuting employees alone will significantly raise the number of vehicles on local roads. Throw in patients and families and you have a vastly busier neighborhood. Some residents are not best pleased with this development at all, but frankly there is not much that can be done.
The map above indicates that for those coming from the east, the logical route to the MUHC is south on Lansdowne – shown in red. This street would have provided ideal ambulance access to the hospital, but for some reason a much more congested route farther west was selected – shown in green. Are they playing with lives? Will they install a white ‘H’ on green background sign at Lansdowne and Sherbrooke to indicate the location of the MUHC? Or will they make people, perhaps a parent with a sick child, go several extra blocks in traffic to access the site instead of simply going down Lansdowne?
According to the Westmount Independent of May 19, 2015 – page 7, one Lansdowne resident wants to go even further and limit all access to the hospital via his street which, due to train tracks, is a main north-south route. He wants hospital employees to be informed of other routes they should take and be encouraged to do so.
The term NIMBY, which stands for ‘not in my backyard ‘ is often bandied about in my community. Some years ago it was determined that the fire station was in need of an upgrade, or perhaps an entirely new location. While most citizens wanted to know they, and their property, were being protected by the latest firefighting technology, no one wanted the station relocated near them lest they be bothered by sirens. They wanted it close, just not too close!
In the case of the MUHC it is too late to accuse anyone of being a NIMBY as the project is complete, done and just about dusted. But there are still some who are going to fight the collateral effects of having a large hospital in our area. I guess I’m fortunate that so far the only effect I’ve experienced is more rush hour traffic, but that could be the soccer helicopter parents!!