New medical centre for Port Dover …
“I guarantee it” said Mayor Dennis Travale
There is no doubt in Norfolk Mayor Dennis Travale’s mind that a new medical centre will be underway in Port Dover this year. At Thursday’s public meeting of Port Dover Community Health Centre Board of Directors meeting, the mayor expressed appreciation for the ongoing work of volunteers for a new medical centre, saying, “with determination and dedication, it will happen.”
The mayor said it has been his ambition to get a new medical centre in Port Dover and, perhaps thinking of the previous attempts by several groups to build a new medical facility here, added “this time will be a winner, I guarantee it.”
The mayor said “tonight is the tipping point for a new (Port Dover) medical centre to happen!”
Les Anderson, who is acting in a co-ordinating capacity for the Health Centre board, told the gathering of about 50 people that the project got underway for him a year ago after he met with Walt Long of Port Dover. Mr. Anderson said he met with Mr. Long to discuss another possible community project with funding from a private developer but Mr. Long convinced him that the greatest need was a new medical centre in Port Dover.
Mr. Anderson said that meeting set the stage for “developing a state-of-the-art facility to serve our community well.” He expressed appreciation to Port Dover Lions and the Health Care Initiative which had both been developing plans to build a new medical centre in the community.
Community Health Centre Board President Dave Murphy of Port Dover stated the directors have been meeting every two weeks since January to develop plans, organize as a not-for-profit corporation, and strategize about physician recruitment. He stated that board members and partners are confident “we will attract physicians to the new medical centre”.
Mr. Murphy introduced the 10-member Port Dover Community Health Centre Board of Directors Vice-president Bill Duffus, Treasurer Ron Keating, Secretary Don MacKinnon, Directors Bruce Armstrong, John H. Barth, Judy Lord, Sam Magro, Pat Ostapchuk, Evelyn Petryniak.
Planning spacious building
Les Anderson described the planned medical centre as 15,500 sq. ft. all on one floor. The footings will be sufficient to permit a second storey in the future.
The plan will have an 8000 sq. ft. section with suites for eight physicians. The meeting learned that no doctor has committed but there has been interest shown by physicians and active recruitment is underway.
The remaining 7500 sq. ft. will be space for a pharmacy, optometrist, chiropractor, diagnostic and imagining facility. There are already more enquiries for non-physician space than is available. It was stated that all current tenants in the existing medical centre will have first right of refusal.
Major funding for the project will come from a private lender, who it was said has been involved in other area projects, but was not named at the meeting. That developer “is pretty excited with our project,” the meeting learned.
Estimated cost of building is between $2.5 and $3-million. Norfolk County Council has agreed to contribute $250,000 over five years to the medical centre. No agreement with an architect has yet been made while the land lease is being finalized. Tender documents have not been issued and no contractor has been named.
Norfolk Councillor Charlie Luke noted the proposal still “has several hurdles to jump”. Les Anderson responded, saying planning is about one month behind schedule, but all details are being addressed. Board President Murphy commented, “a very aggressive schedule is committed”.
Mr. Anderson told the meeting that they would have a shovel in the ground by October with opening in late spring 2015.
Mr. Anderson said the health centre will be community-owned and run by the Board of Directors.
Board President Murphy stated the medical centre will have a service area of about 12,000 residents from Port Dover and easterly into Haldimand County. He said a doctor can serve about 2000 patients.
The meeting was told that many young doctors don’t want to run a business. The medical centre will be designed where office procedures are handled by medical building staff leaving doctors for full-time care of patients.
Fundraising for ‘extras’
Director John H. Barth is chair of fundraising. While the medical centre building is being financed by a developer, furniture and other items will require the community to raise money. “There will be opportunities to donate,” he said. A fundraising campaign will begin in the summer and continue throughout the construction, adding the committee, “looks forward to residents being involved in fundraising to create a modern health care facility”.
Les Anderson stated, “even when things were moving slowly the Port Dover Lions were always ‘in our corner’ to make a significant contribution to the creation of a medical centre”.
Speaking for the Lions Club, Don Tomlinson reminded the meeting that Port Dover Lions Club built the present medical centre on St. George Street. Currently, the local Lions Club “are facilitators to get the not-for-profit group the land (next to Port Dover Arena)”. He said Port Dover Lions “have the desire and backing of the Club to see the medical centre happen”.
Speaking after the meeting, Walt Long said it was one of his late wife Barbara’s final wishes that he keep working to bring a new medical centre to Port Dover and he was pleased with the enthusiasm of this group “and I am confident it will happen”.