The developer planning to turn the old Sudbury general hospital into a condominium complex got an earful from residents at a meeting Monday night. While some residents were outraged, others were wondering when they can move in.
Sudburians like Hazel Ecclestone said she feels a duty to protect the gift of land the Bell family made to the city some 86 years ago.
She said the general hospital — which was built in the 1940s — was a welcome intruder on the parkland.
"It was a hospital — everybody was OK with that," Ecclestone said. "It was a hospital, right? [But now it’s] supposed to go back to green space."
Ecclestone said she doesn't live in the area, but noted Bell Park belongs to the entire city — it’s Sudbury's backyard.
"It's only a park that gets used by everybody. Everybody," she emphasized.
Real Fortin lives nearby the park and scoffs at those who say the 190-unit condominium building will be bad for Ramsey Lake.
"In terms of environment and pollution, they will definitely do a lot less damage than the hospital did," he said of the proposed development.
Fortin said he is one of many in the neighbourhood who are interested in buying one of the condos.
"It's a marvelous concept," he said. "I wish I had shares."
It's still a little early to put down a deposit, however. The plan still has to pass a vote of city council, which should take place later this summer.
Sudbury city councillor Frances Caldarelli said she has some concerns about the new condos, but said it's best to work with the developer to sort them out.
"We have an empty building," she said. "There's no point thinking we can leave it empty, because we can't. We've got to go ahead."
Caldarelli said she's been told by city staff that this condo proposal does not encroach on Bell Park.
Residents will get a chance to be heard again at another public meeting in a few weeks.