Hospital parking

The Health Sciences North plan would see its parking lot expanded by buying a strip of neighbouring bush land owned by the Idylwylde Golf and Country Club. (City of Greater Sudbury)

City councillors have given the green light to add nearly a thousand parking spaces to the Sudbury hospital.

This comes after three years of private talks to buy land from the neighbouring golf course.

Health Sciences North was built several hundred parking spaces short of what it needs due to miscalculations during the planning process.

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But it now has a deal to buy land from the neighbouring Idylwylde golf course to pave over for another 965 spaces.

"The big thing for us is that it allows patients and visitors, especially those with mobility challenges to be closer to the hospital and that's important," said hospital spokesman Dan Lessard. "Plus, it leads to more on-site parking for staff. That's a bonus as well."

The re-zoning decision is to be finalized by Sudbury city council at its meeting on Tuesday.

There were some concerns at Monday's meeting about run-off into Lake Ramsey and how much the hospital encourages its employees to take public transit.

But in general, the Health Sciences North parking plan passed uneventfully yesterday. 

Although, Councillor Doug Craig was wondering about what this would mean for the Idylwylde.

"I'd like to ask a little about the golf course. The back nine, 14 and 15. How are they going to be impacted?" he asked.

"There's no guarantee the scores are going to get better," quipped Idylwylde lawyer Mac Sinclair.

The re-zoning is one of the final hurdles clearing the way for the golf course to sell the 9.4 acre strip to the hospital.

The negotiations have ground on for three years and the final sale price isn't public yet.

And according to Lessard, neither is the timeline as to when the 965 parking spaces will be ready.

"As soon as possible, let's put it that way," he told reporters.

Once the deal is done and the lines are painted, the hospital would have 2,455 spaces on site, plus another 200 on the other side of Paris Street, a parking lot it purchased two years ago for $1.2 million.