MHC board to study Mindemoya site

MINDEMOYA—The Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC) board of directors has set aside funds towards a study of the Mindemoya hospital site.

“At our meeting last night (Wednesday of last week) the board passed a motion to provide an envelope of funds, not to exceed $50,000, to commission a study of the Mindemoya hospital site to examine the condition of the hospital site and infrastructure around it for future planning purposes,” stated MHC CEO Derek Graham after the meeting.

“This study will provide us a snapshot of what possible in terms of renovations, expansion and also if the condition of the building is such that it does not make sense to renovate but to construct a new building,” said Mr. Graham.

“The board is taking a long-term horizon approach on this and want to plan the right way and what is best for the Mindemoya hospital site,” said Mr. Graham. “We want to enhance the building to continue to provided the best care possible, in the best way possible, at the Mindemoya site. This action is providing a very strong indication from the board of its support for the future and growth of the Mindemoya site.”

He pointed out,  “when it had been determined previously that there was a need for primary care expansion at the Mindemoya site the Family Health Team (FHT) building was built, as had taken place in Little Current prior to that. Then the priority focused on an enhanced emergency room site for Little Current hospital and this was completed. Now the board has prioritized a study to be done of the Mindemoya site for potential enhancements and growth.”

“Now the Mindemoya hospital site building is what the board has determined we need to pay attention to next,” continued Mr. Graham. “Space is at a premium and the site is bumping up against the physical footprint. Knowing the age of the building and nature of its architecture, as this is a wood frame building, we need to have this study done by architects/engineers to give us direction.”

“It is all about growth of the hospital and we will be engaging in this study in the next fiscal year, so (we are looking at) the spring or summer,” explained Mr. Graham. “We will be hiring an external architectural/engineering firm to carry out the study on the building before we look at renovations of the existing hospital site or a new building.” He explained, “before we go forward with major capital improvements there is a process that has to be followed through the ministry (of Health and Long Term Care) capital branch. As we all know from the FHT process there are many steps and hoops to go through and this project will be even more arduous. From the start to finish this project could take 10 years.”

“The (MHC) board and senior management is in total support of this study,” said Mr. Graham. He noted that while the Little Current hospital location is totally landlocked to growth or expansion, from an access perspective the Mindemoya site has the potential for growth and is very important to local towns, villages and First Nations. Built in the 1960s it is prudent to have a study done of the hospital and look at its potential growth and expansion.”