As the site for Montreal’s latest testing clinic for the new coronavirus begins to take shape behind the Cavendish mall in Côte Saint-Luc, so, too, are concerns from nearby residents.
Julie Bouianovskaia’s back porch overlooks the mall parking lot where the drive-thru clinic will see some 500 people daily.
She is concerned about how close the centre is to nearby homes.
“The distance between the backyard and the testing tent is just enough to drive a car through, which they are going to be doing. It’s extremely close,” Bouianovskaia said.
Patients seeking tests for the virus will be tested in their cars metres away from her home. Montreal public health says the location poses no danger to residents.
Bouianovskaia, however, fears that proximity will be a health risk for her and family’s safety.
“What I’m afraid of is getting this virus into the house. I have a six-year-old and a two-year-old — we don’t want to get sick.”
Other residents voiced similar concerns on the city’s Facebook page.
“It’s too close to residents who live around Cavendish Mall. Most of the kids play in their backyard,” said one resident.
“I don’t disagree with the testing…I’m just questioning the location of where the testing will be done. I can’t imagine you would want it in your actual backyard either,” chimed another.
Meanwhile, work crews are racing to complete the drive-thru testing clinic in time for its scheduled opening on Sunday.
The site comes a week after the City of Côte Saint-Luc declared a state of emergency and imposed a ban on religious and mass gatherings.
The Montreal island suburb has been hit hard with recent COVID-19 outbreaks at the King David residence and at the Congregation Beth Chabad synagogue.
Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein welcomed the new site, saying it is essential.
“Our community will be safer because people will not be going into the IGA or walking the streets with the virus.”
Brownstein stressed that residents should not fear.
A Montreal public health spokesperson echoed that, telling Global News the open-air clinic poses no danger to residents who live nearby, insisting the public health department would not put the public’s health at risk.
Bouianovskaia says while she sees the importance of the clinic during this time of a pandemic, she would like to see it moved.
“This testing centre is extremely important but to be safe, it would be good to move it to one of the other viable locations,” she said.
Bouianovskaia would like to see the centre move to another location, such as on the other side of the mall, something that provincial health officials and the mayor say will not happen.
With ongoing studies and much still unknown surrounding the novel coronavirus, Bouianovskaia says she will not be putting herself and her family’s health in danger.
She plans on temporarily moving from her Côte Saint-Luc residence until the site ceases operations.
“I don’t want to take any unnecessary risks for my family,” she said.