Long-awaited construction of Shelburne health-care clinic expected to start in June

As speculation grows that a provincial election is coming, the McNeil government announced Sunday that construction on a long-awaited Shelburne, N.S., health-care clinic is expected to begin in June.

The community will also be getting two new doctors and two new nurses to the area as well, a news release stated.

Penny Smith, the warden for the Municipality of the District of Shelburne, welcomed the news.

"During the past few years, our community has suffered because of doctor shortages and a lack of required health care professionals, which has led to hospital emergency department closures," said Smith.

"We've actually had people leave our community to be able to access a family doctor, so having this facility is thrilling news for us in that it's something our community needs and it's a need we've had for quite a long time."

7-year wait

Residents have been fighting for renovations and the expansion of a medical centre that was closed more than seven years ago.

The centre, located next to the Roseway Hospital, was home to a group of general practitioners and was closed by the province so that it could undergo renovations.

McNeil announced the tender for construction will be issued Monday.

The new clinic will be made up of family physicians, nurse practitioners, a family practice nurse and support staff, the news release stated.

The hospital announcement was made the same day the province delivered two other announcements — funding to repair and re-open the Perkins House Museum and an initiative for homeowners and landlords in the Tufts Cove area to spruce up their properties.

The announcements also happened on the same day the provincial NDP launched its campaign.

The timing of the announcement didn't raise any issues with Smith.

"It's such a positive event for us. We're just happy that it's been announced for us today," she said.

Smith said with an older population and plenty of residents working in the fishery, health care is critical for the community.

The municipality has already contributed $450,000 to the facility, she said.