Further to an article that appeared in the Montreal newspaper La Presse on June 9, 2006, the MUHC would like to clarify the following points:
No work was done secretly. No trees were cut. No notices of breach of law have been received from the City of Montreal's Office of Permits and Inspection.
The parking spaces in question, located on the north side of the Allan Memorial Institute, are temporary, and do not represent a new, permanent parking lot.
Some 50 to 70 parking spaces were temporarily relocated between April 21-24, 2006, from in front of a stone wall of heritage value, delineating hospital and city property on the west side of the Allan Memorial Institute, because the wall's deteriorating condition posed a substantial and imminent danger to the public.
This heritage wall requires reconstructive work costing an estimated $1 million.
At the City's request and in the absence of necessary funds to carry out the reconstruction work on the wall immediately, the MUHC chose the best solution to maintain critical hospital access and safety for patients of the Royal Victoria Hospital.
A geotextile membrane, which is a permeable, synthetic-based material used primarily because of its environmentally friendly, protective filtration, separation, drainage and supportive qualities, was placed over a grass lot, along with recycled asphalt—also a "greener" choice than gravel because it breaks apart more easily—thus allowing us to preserve important patient safety and access as well as the original green space until such time as the wall could be fixed.
Since March 2006, the MUHC has been actively working towards a remedy. Other parties involved include the City of Montreal's Bureau des projets, Service du développement culturel, de la qualité du milieu de vie et de la diversité ethnoculturelle, Direction des sports, des parcs et des espaces verts; the Service de la mise en valeur du territoire et du patrimoine, Direction des grands projets, Direction regions Ouest et Sud-Ouest; and the Ministry of Culture and Communications. The MUHC has also pursued incentives to promote alternate means of transport for employees in order to offset pressure on parking space. The MUHC has just received a grant from the Ministry of Transport to promote the Allégo programme and a partnership with Voyagez Futé Montréal. As well, a meeting has been organized for Tuesday, June 13, 2006 with the Agence de développement de Montréal to address short, mid- and long-term solutions.
Once the heritage wall is fixed, poses no threat to hospital users, and a declaration is received from the Ministry of Culture and Communications stating that the wall's condition meets its approval, the temporarily relocated parking spaces will be removed immediately, thus restoring the original green space.