Township agrees to back area health team

Erik Stern calls the new medical clinic currently under construction in Rockwood a “five-year dream” that would not have been possible without the foresight of Guelph-Eramosa council.

“I just want to thank council  and staff for all their help,” said Stern, president of the East Wellington Family Health Team (EWFHT) board.

He was at the special council meeting on Aug. 21 to witness the township agreeing to cover any portion of leasehold improvements at the clinic not raised through EWFHT fund­raising – to a maximum of $450,000.

Stern explained the agreement will allow the EWFHT to stay within its budget and “open the new building on time and with new doctors in place to better serve the community.”

Mayor Chris White said the township is simply backing up the vision of the FHT.

And coun­cillor Doug Breen said he believes the 25-year lease agreement between the township and Coldpoint Holdings Limited is a model that should be widely used by others.

Coldpoint gets to serve the public at ultimately no cost to them (leases should cover original $1.3-million cost) and the municipality gets a new building it otherwise could not afford, Breen explained.

“To do this as a backdrop is a no-brainer,” he said of covering the family health team with money from the Rockwood hydro fund.

Councillor John Scott also thanked the team, and specifically Stern, for dealing with the bureaucracy of the Ministry of Health.

“It took an awful lot of character and fortitude and I appreciate it,” Scott said.

About 6,450 square feet of the one storey building at the corner of Alma Street (Highway 7) and Inkerman Street will be used for the medical clinic, while the remainder of the 12,000 square foot facility will be filled by three commercial businesses.

Council unanimously agreed to help cover the team’s leaseholds. Councillors Reta Moyer and Roger Knapp were absent.

The cash will help cover items such as doors and frames, millwork, flooring, painting, plumbing, washroom accessories, electrical work, plumbing, heating and cooling.

The new building is expected to officially open in January.