New Port Dover Health Centre committee disbands

Medical Centre

Bruce Armstrong, president, and members of the Port Dover Community Health Centre Board released this open letter to citizens of Port Dover on Monday announcing their intention to disband immediately.
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ALMOST three years ago, the PDCHC Board was formed with the mandate of achieving what earlier groups had tried to accomplish: to recruit a number of new doctors for Port Dover and the surrounding area; and to build a new medical centre.
We gave it our best shot, invested several thousand volunteer hours in the process and at times felt that we really were going to succeed. Ultimately, a lack of operational financing, insufficient volunteer resources and myriad, seemingly endless obstacles became our undoing.
It is with disappointment and deep regret that the PDCHC Board must advise that we are unable to fulfill our mandate and will be discontinuing our operations effective immediately.
There are a number of young physicians that are very interested in settling in Port Dover and we will endeavour to assist them in finding suitable alternative locations in Port Dover and locally.
Thank you to the many people and organizations that provided assistance, guidance and support throughout this journey. Let us cite in particular: Mayor Charlie Luke and former Mayor Dennis Travale, Councillor John Wells, County Manager Keith Robicheau, senior officials at NGH, the Port Dover Lions, Venture Norfolk and the willing volunteers that formerly served on the PDCHC Board.
We know that our efforts moved the yardstick considerably and believe that future volunteers or a commercial group could ultimately finalize this process. The good citizens of Port Dover have been waiting a long time and deserve better.

The following is the letter delivered to Mayor Charlie Luke on Monday, September 26 regarding the pending purchase of Port Dover Medical Centre Building:
Good day Mayor Luke:
As you know the Port Dover Community Health Centre Board has been engaged in the process of purchasing the Port Dover Medical Centre building from the County. As we approach the closing date of September 30 we find that we are unable to meet the conditions of our operational financing to deal with the significant up-front expenses to set doctors up in practice.
Despite our best efforts, this is formal notice that the Port Dover Community Health Centre Board must withdraw our offer to purchase the building.
Council, County and NGH have been most supportive of our efforts to recruit and house new family physicians within Norfolk County and Port Dover. We are deeply appreciative of this support and have done our utmost as community volunteers to succeed in this mission. However the obstacles have been many and are still ongoing. The recent appeal over the land (re)zoning has created huge uncertainties over our ultimate plans and weighed heavily on this outcome.
Following the withdrawal from the intended purchase, with regret the Port Dover Community Health Centre will be winding down its affairs and ceasing operations. During this transition, we will endeavour to assist the recruited doctors in finding suitable alternative locations to practice locally.
Thank you for your understanding of how difficult but necessary this decision is for us.
Yours very truly,
Bruce Armstrong,
President,
Port Dover Community Health Centre

Councillor Wells responds

THE announcement this week of the Port Dover Community Health Centre Board decision to disband and cease efforts to provide a new medical centre facility for Port Dover came as a shock to most citizens.
Councillor John Wells stated on Monday “I am disappointed obviously,” and went to say “I and the community certainly appreciate the effort put forward (by the Board members) but unfortunately it did not have a happier ending for the committee or the community.”
“It was quite a setback, we will have to start again,” he commented.
He was uncertain on Monday if Norfolk County council could discuss the matter at its Tuesday meeting as procedure rules might not permit it to be added to the agenda at the last minute.
“The worst case scenario,” the councillor mused aloud “would be to have it on the agenda for the following Tuesday meeting.”
“I thought we were making real progress,” Councillor Wells stated, “but now we’ll have to make the best of a very sad situation.”

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