06/26/2014 11:00 EDT | Updated 08/26/2014 05:59 EDT

Westmount residents call MUHC superhospital noise a nuisance

SNC-Lavalin is contesting claims that noise coming from the new MUHC superhospital’s ventilation and cooling systems is louder than Westmount bylaws allow.

Christina Smith, district 5 councillor for the City of Westmount, told CBC Radio’s Daybreak Thursday that tests have shown the noise from the Glen Yards site slightly exceeds allowable limits.

“Public security officers have measured it several times throughout the day… It’s slightly above, but above nonetheless,” she told Daybreak host Mike Finnerty.

She said Westmount City Council has heard complaints from numerous residents about the noise, which started back in April when the hospital began testing its ventilation and cooling systems.

“It’s become an irritant for residents facing the hospital. It’s been very difficult for them," Smith said. "We’ve had several complaints now. It started with just a few houses on Ste-Catherine Street that face the site and were having a hard time with it. Now, with summer here, everyone’s outside and they hear it."

Philippe Lord lives a few blocks from the MUHC’s Glen Yards site and said the noise is a new and unwelcome constant in the neighbourhood.

“We know we’re not living in the countryside, we all agree on that… But this [sound] is forever, and it’s disturbing. We don’t need more noise in the area,” he said.

“Somebody should have thought about the noise impacting on the area,” he said.

SNC-Lavalin questions test findings

However, Josée Ethier, SNC-Lavalin’s deputy project manager for the superhospital, told Daybreak that their tests show the noise is within Westmount’s allowable limits.

In fact, she said there’s less noise at the site than there was before construction on the hospital started in 2010.

She said the situation could improve once tests are finished and the ventilation and cooling systems are properly balanced.

“We will complete the balancing of those systems, we’re progressing well. We need to deliver the hospital by the end of September… We think the situation may improve, yes, and we’ll make additional measurements when they’re completed and address the situation at that time if there’s still a problem,” she said.

However, she questioned whether there is in fact a problem, given SNC-Lavalin’s own tests.

Smith said Westmount believes there is indeed a problem and has hired its own acoustical engineer to measure the sound and propose solutions.