Hospital's plan for temporary helipad runs into turbulence
Residents voice opposition to plan for helipad near Ramsey Lake Road
The Sudbury hospital's plans to build a temporary helipad just off Ramsey Lake Road met with unexpected opposition at a public meeting hosted by the hospital and air-ambulance officials Thursday night.
The hospital's regular helipad will be closed for repairs, as of May 27.
But residents at the meeting said the hospital hasn't studied the health effects of having a helipad so close to a residential neighborhood.
"I'd thought I had a handle on some of the concerns, but there were some new ones that we hadn't anticipated, and we will deal with," said Joe Pilon, chief operating officer at Health Sciences North.
He promised there would be answers to all the residents' concerns, even if it meant someone from the hospital visiting residents door-to-door.
Residents were told Thursday night that a patch of land near Ramsey Lake Road will make a good temporary helipad. It's close to the hospital and safe for pilots to land.
But no one could speak to the potential health effects of landing helicopters near homes.
"Is it safe for children to breathe the fumes? They couldn't answer that. Is the noise going to damage my hearing? That was not answered," said David Cooper who lives in the area.
Pilon says the main helipad will close May 27, and repairs will take up to eight weeks.
After that, the temporary pad will never be used again, he said.
"We had hoped it might be used as a backup. But it was obvious from the concerns raised in this meeting that there is no tolerance for that," Pilon said.