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Doc pitches health complex for Springwater's community hub

Dr. Robert Gabor wears many hats.

Primarily a Springwater Township-based family doctor, Gabor runs a sports medicine clinic, is an emergency room physician at Barrie’s Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH), a local coroner and one of the founding members of the Family Medicine Teaching unit at RVH.

But Wednesday night at Springwater’s council meeting, he wore the hat of the community builder as he made a pitch for council’s support to create the Springwater Health Care Complex.

“I want to introduce an idea and gain council’s approval in moving forward with a definitive plan to create a health-care complex within the community hub concept plan that was presented by the township,” Gabor said. “With the hub moving forward, this would be a good place to build this sort of complex.”

Springwater Township’s community hub has received council support and will be located near the intersection of Bayfield Street and Snow Valley Road. The hub is expected to include an aquatics centre, a library, a gymnasium and two ice surfaces.

Gabor told council he has been working with township staff for the past six years to find a suitable location for the health complex. He said the biggest challenge with most of the locations is that they don’t have water and sewer services.

That’s not an issue if the health complex becomes part of the community hub.

Gabor said building a health complex would allow for growth in the local economy, provide jobs, improve the Springwater community, pool resources and build community partnerships.

“It started with myself being an emergency physician, working in urgent care in the south end of Barrie, saying that we need to unload the overtaxed, underutilized services that are going on in the emergency department,” he said. “So, I thought, what better way to do this than to create an urgent care centre.”

He said he’s already talked about the idea with a number of local organizations, including RVH, the Barrie and Area Ontario Health Team, Georgian Radiology and a number of labs. They’ve all expressed interest in being a part of it, Gabor said.

“RVH is very interested in actually claiming stake to be part of this building,” Gabor told council during his deputation. “Suddenly, word got out and everyone wants to be a part of this and get behind it to serve the community.”

Faced with his idea becoming a reality, Gabor put some thought into what it should look like.

His first idea was for a four-storey building, maybe 10,000 square feet or so.

“There is so much support, we might have to do a phase one and a phase two,” he told council.

Gabor said he hasn’t arrived at a final scenario for building the complex, but allowed there are at least a couple of options that would work.

“It could be public land with private investment or private land with public investment,” he said. “Either way, this is not a private venture; it’s community based.”

Council’s response to Gabor’s pitch was uniformly positive with council expressing an interest in pursuing a partnership.

Council directed staff to continue discussions with Gabor and report back on potential options to move forward.

Wayne Doyle, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BarrieToday.com