Committee lists medical centre renovation priorities for town council to consider

Gore Bay Medical Centre (from website gorebaymedicalcentre.ca)

WESTERN MANITOULIN – Gore Bay council has given its go ahead to the recommendations made by the Gore Bay Medical Centre ad hoc committee, for renovations and upgrades to the building.

Gore Bay Mayor Dan Osborne told The Expositor after a council meeting last week, “we supported the recommendations made by the committee for the renovations to the medical centre building and to have the committee continue to look at the design/conceptual design phase, what costs are involved and fundraising options.”

The Gore Bay Medical Centre ad hoc committee has outlined its recommendations as to priorities for town council to consider for renovations and upgrades to the building.

“From my perspective the main priorities that came out of the (public) survey is the egress and ingress of the front entrance and the back entrance basement area (including accessibility to both areas of the building), wait room and reception area to overlook the waiting area, and includes work on the bathroom area,” said Dr. Robert Hamilton, a member of the committee at a meeting held earlier this month. 

The committee had previously reviewed the list of priorities that have been discussed and agreed that accessibility at the front of the building, ambulance entrance accessibility, the reception area to overlook the waiting room, wait room itself, basement entrance and bathroom were the main things to be looked at. Others included the building HVAC system, lab renovations and examination rooms.

“I don’t have too much to add to the suggested list of renovation items. I agree that the main concerns relate to the entrances and exits to the building, especially the front entrance, the rear entrance, ambulance service access, basement access, and associated improvements to the waiting room, patient washroom, and optimizing the interface between the waiting room and reception area,” said Dr. Hamilton. 

“I’m not clear about the process moving forward. The recommendations will now be made by the committee to council, then council looks at them and then asks for a firm to put an actual proposal together of the actual work to be done?” said Dr. Hamilton. 

This would be the case, said town clerk Stasia Carr, to which Dr. Hamilton said, “I don’t have the technical expertise as to what is possible. Will the engineer/architectural firm be asked to come up with advice as to what is possible. Or would they just implement a proposed plan?”  

An architectural firm (to be selected by town council) could look at either option, said Ms. Carr. 

Dr. Hamilton also inquired about an update on the dental office within the building. “I understand the dentist had given notice of leaving; do we have any updated information on that?”

It was explained by Ms. Carr that there is no new update. Dr. Maninder Singh’s lease had ended on August 30, and “he wanted to sell his practice, but I don’t know if he has been successful,” she said.

“It would be great to have another dentist in that office, but I don’t know how realistic this would be,” said Dr. Hamilton.  He told the committee he will be attending a meeting this week with administrators of the Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC) looking at doctor recruitment. “With the Gore Bay services networking with Mindemoya and Little Current, who knows what health personnel opportunities will be available if there is no dentist service in that vacant office.”

“I’ll second Dr. Hamilton’s motion to submit our priority list recommendations to council,” said committee member Wayne Bailey. The motion was passed by the committee. 

As for the future of the committee, “we as a group, moving forward we are either done or council will decide we are still a viable group, and we can look at fundraising. We’ll wait and see,” said committee co-chair Perry Patterson. 

On behalf of the town and the committee, Ms. Carr said, “we would like to verbally thank the (Gore Bay) Rotary Club for their support of the medical centre (through the recent Bay to Bay Century Ride), which raised funds for two causes, one being the renovations of the medical centre.”

“And thanks to the town and other groups and organizations etc. for taking part in this process,” said Dr. Hamilton. “The medical centre has always been something that has been community driven, and this is another example of that. We appreciate the wider community taking part and are looking forward to seeing things come to fruition.”