Robinson Township, Sheshegwaning contribute to doctor recruitment fund

WESTERN MANITOULIN – More communities on Manitoulin Island—the unorganized township of Robinson and the Sheshegwaning First Nation—have stepped up and provided their share of funding, in fact more than had originally been requested, toward the Gore Bay doctor recruitment drive. 

Tim Mackinlay, chair of the Robinson Local Services Board (LSB) told the Recorder earlier this week, “a recruitment fund was started in 2020 to attract new doctors to Gore Bay by the Town of Gore Bay and the townships of Billings, Burpee and Mills, Robinson, Dawson and the First Nations of Sheshegwaning and Zhiibaahaasing.”

“Robinson’s share of this fund has exceeded the goal of $1,950,” stated Mr. Mackinlay. He pointed out the unorganized townships are not allowed to contribute to this initiative through the tax base. The inhabitants have to do this the old-fashioned way. And, “as of today (Monday) $2,550 has been raised.”

“Many people have stepped forward to contribute and I thank them all,” said Mr. MacKinlay. “I would especially like to extend a huge thank you to Tom Moore, his daughter Mindy and her husband Brian Kerr, seasonal inhabitants, whose family roots run deep on the Island, for their very generous donation. Tom and his family have visited Manitoulin every summer since 1959 when Tom’s parents-in-law, Cal and Eunice Sifferd, bought their property at Misery Bay. When that property was bequeathed to the Conservation Authority and became Misery Bay Park, Tom and Ellie couldn’t imagine not coming here in the summer. The whole family loved the Island and the people here. Tom and Ellie Moore bought their property on Portage Point in 1997. They built in 1998—the same year they were last allowed to stay at Misery Bay. Tom’s daughter and husband bought adjoining lots on Portage Point a few years later.” 

“Also, I would like to mention that the First Nation of Sheshegwaning, under the leadership of Chief (Ogimaa) Dean Roy, have contributed to the overall fund generously,” said Mr. Mackinlay.

Sheshegwaning First Nation Chief Ogimaa Dean Roy told the Recorder last Friday, “yes, we made a donation of $2,000. I want to point out our estimated contribution (request) was to be $1,350. Our community thinks this a very worthwhile initiative and we hope otherer communities will do the same.”

All the communities involved are trying to raise funds towards recruiting a new doctor for the Gore Bay Medical Centre. As has been reported previously, Drs. Robert Hamilton and Shelagh McRae have indicated they would like to retire soon. A newly recruited doctor would work with Dr. Chantelle Wilson at the medical centre. 

The doctor recruitment funds would be used to attract possible candidates, for things such as covering moving expenses or a signing bonus. It was agreed by all the municipalities and First Nations to set up a special fund to be contributed to, based on populations. 

The goal is to have a minimum of $30,000 available for recruiting a new doctor.