Rec centre field hospital to be disassembled by next week

LITTLE CURRENT—The field hospital located in the Northeast Town recreation centre hall is in the process of being disassembled and the hall is expected to be vacated by the first week of April.

As reported previously, in the spring of 2020, Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC) approached the Northeast Town to convert its recreation centre hall into a 27 individual acute/palliative care bedroom facility, should the MHC’s two sites be overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients, shortly after the pandemic was declared. Each of the ‘rooms’ contained an electrically adjustable bed, an end table, a large stuffed chair with an easily-cleaned surface and an IV pole for drip bags. The field hospital has never been utilized, fortunately.

Northeast Town council heard a request from the MHC’s facilities maintenance and operations manager, Duane Deschamps, asking for permission to place a 40-foot sea container on the municipality’s Little Current public works property to store all of the equipment and supplies from the field hospital.

“The sea container will be purchased and maintained by MHC Corporation and is to be utilized to store emergency response equipment and supplies for the purpose of deployment to any area on Manitoulin Island requiring additional aid due to a medical outbreak or pandemic,” Mr. Deschamps wrote to council. He went on to thank the municipality “and its council for their ongoing support during the COVID-19 pandemic. We could not have done it without you.” The space for the field hospital was provided by the municipality as a public service and at no charge.

CAO Dave Williamson noted MHC would take on liability insurance as well as any other related costs of having the sea container on municipal property.

Councillor Michael Erskine said he thought it was a good step in regaining use of the rec centre hall.

Councillor Dawn Orr requested it be kept somewhere not visible to the public, noting her dislike of sea containers. Mr. Williamson said the container would be located in the back field of the property, so not visible to the public.

A motion to allow the use of the sea container was carried.