The Belfast Community Development Corporation, BCDC, is in the early stages of drafting a proposal to build a health and wellness centre near Lord Selkirk Campground.
“We have high standards,” Barry Galloway, the corporation’s new executive director, said.
Mr Galloway is one of eight members of a steering committee involved in planning the project. The committee is determined to build an environmentally and economically sustainable centre that promotes local business but primarily, accessible health and well-being services from health care professionals to employment skills training, food sustainability initiatives and safe and affordable housing programs.
Other members of the committee are: Mark Booth, chair of BCDC, Garth Gillis, Matt Kenny, Trisha Viaene, Charlie O’Brien, John Rousseau and Monica Ross
“It’s in the early stages,” Mr Galloway said. “We don’t know exactly what it will look like yet.”
The committee has submitted a general proposal outlining its goals to consultants who are completing feasibility studies or business plans.
Once complete the committee will go to the community for input.
“It needs to sustain itself,” Mr Galloway said. “Nothing is carved in stone, for example maybe we do two stories. The top could be apartments or condos that fund the non-profit side.”
Leasing space to health-related businesses such as a pharmacy also has funding potential along with providing storefronts for lease to local business owners.
Mayor Garth Gillis represents Belfast Rural Municipal Council on the committee.
“This could be a great addition for the community,” he said.
It’s possible the centre could incorporate a new arena.
“Our rec centre needs a number of repairs so we started to question is it worth paying for the maintenance and repairs or is it a better idea to build something new?”
The centre could also serve as a warming centre which rural municipalities are required to maintain by provincial legislation.
Mayor Gillis said it would be beneficial for Belfast to attract a nurse practitioner or other health care providers to work at the centre to improve accessibility and alleviate the load on doctors and emergency room visits to Kings County Memorial Hospital in nearby Montague.
Mr Galloway expects the business plan to cost around $50,000. He is hopeful provincial streams will cover a portion of the cost and BCDC fund the rest.
Rachel Collier, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Graphic