With a unanimous vote, members of the West Church Improvement Association have rejected the “rush to get a 560-million-dollar hospital rebuild bond measure on the ballot because we cannot give credence to a blank check which obscures important planning issues.”
In a statement issued to The City Daily, the West Church Improvement Association said that hospital spokespeople are not adequately discussing the location and impact of a new hospital on nearby neighborhoods as well as the inclusion of a heliport in the rebuild plan.
There is no consensus on whether the new hospital should be located at the local campus or at Church District. Nevertheless, many members of the medical staff wish to relocate to Church District. Yet, the Steering Committee (of the Association) is being asked to sign off on the River site so that a proposed location will appear on the ballot measure. It is being asked to believe that the location could shift to Church District after the election if conditions warrant it. This scheme looks to the Association like an elaborate shell game; in planning for a major new hospital, something more than a bureaucratic whim to depend on is needed.
The statement continues. “We are also being asked to shelve our concerns about the proposal until after the election”. The rationale given for this was that we are awaiting the results of an environmental impact report on the heliport that is due out in 2017 $75,000 has already been spent for a feasibility study.
Now $350,000 is being committed to an EIR (Environmental Impact Review) with over $425,000 sunk into a proposal to have a heliport at the city site, it is difficult for us to believe that other alternatives will be considered.
“Furthermore, we understand that the primary consideration for locating a heliport at the hospital is financial. Without it, trauma admissions might drop below 1200 per year. We have to believe the Chief of Trauma in General when he says that the push for helicopters is ‘all about money.’ Moreover, a heliport at the hospital is not required by its accrediting agency, the Emergency Services (EMS) Authority.
“We cannot support a plan that does not adequately address issues of parking and the impact of increased traffic congestion. The city site does not afford an opportunity for future hospital expansion except by encroachment into the surrounding residential neighborhood. Furthermore, we do not support a proposal that includes a helicopter-landing pad at the campus.”