The plan for a community wellness centre in Sicamous that would concentrate necessary medical care in a single building on Main Street is beginning to take shape.
The District of Sicamous is seeking provincial rural dividend funding to pay for the design of the proposed building.
In its application to the province for $100,000 in funding, the District of Sicamous states the building to be designed could house up to four doctors, one nurse practitioner, one physiotherapist, one chiropractor and one optometrist.
In addition, the application says it will have a community daycare facility, retail coffee shop and as many as 12 elevator-accessible residential suites.
Allowing seniors to age in place rather than relocate to other communities where more health-care options are located nearby is a key objective of constructing the medical centre.
According to the rural dividend fund application, 45 per cent of Sicamous’ current population has been required to find health-care practitioners outside the district. It notes the difficulty of travelling 30-minutes or more on the highway for medical appointments, particularly for seniors.
“In order to keep our seniors within our community and encourage young families, it is imperative that a new facility is built to meet today’s needs and requirements to enhance and promote a healthy living environment to our young people and elderly alike,” the application reads.
The district plans to convert the existing medical and dental clinic on Finlayson Street, which was purchased by the district in October of 2017 to a community recreation facility when the new centre is built. The application to the rural dividend fund notes that the building which houses the current medical and dental clinic was built over 35 years ago and requires repairs and upgrades. It says it would be very difficult to install the technological needs of a modern B.C. health- care system facility in the aging structure.
Community space is also going to be planned for the new medical centre. The rural dividend fund application states the new facility will have a community room which local non-profit groups will be allowed to use free of charge. The application says the Eagle Valley Community Resource Centre, Eagle Valley Arts Council, Eagle Valley Snowmobile Grooming Society, Eagle Valley Highway Rescue and Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue and other groups could use the community room for board meetings and training seminars.
The application says the proposed centre will employ 26 people full-time and an additional 15 part-time and three temporary or seasonal staff.
The total cost of designing the building is $146,900. Bayview Homes, which is partnering with the district on the application is contributing $19,800 in cash and in-kind support. Bayview Homes will also act as project manager.
The proposed health centre is an important part of Sicamous’ plan to attract doctors. Over the last 10 years the number of doctors practising in Sicamous has fallen from three to just one.
“It is the opinion of all affected, that an upgraded facility is required to attract much-needed health professionals.
“As part of the process, public consultations and town hall meetings will ensure that a ‘made-for-Sicamous’ solution is delivered,” the Rural Dividend Fund Application reads.