Sundridge medical centre renovations in works

·2 min read

It may still be a while before any renovation work begins at the Sundridge and District Medical Centre.

Council has received a resolution from the medical centre committee, but wants more information before advancing the project.

Council has agreed in principle that renovations are needed, but it wants staff to report back with a cost estimate for the work.

The committee recommended to council that North Bay-based Bertrand Wheeler Architecture come up with a budget for the renovations and prepare a conceptual design for the work.

Members of council made it clear they want to know what the renovations will cost before green-lighting any work because the municipality would be taking out a loan with Infrastructure Ontario.

The townships of Strong and Joly also would be part of the loan arrangement.

During the debate, council went through a shopping list of items the medical centre needs.

Coun. Steven Hicks, who is council's representative on the committee, said the existing facility is almost an eyesore, making it difficult to attract a physician.

And he didn't stop with the actual building.

"The parking lot desperately needs work," he added.

Mayor Lyle Hall agreed, saying the parking lot has to be done and the HVAC system also is out of date.

Coun. Barbara Belrose agreed the community needs a better looking facility in order to attract a doctor, indicating the carpeting throughout the facility is very old.

But Hicks countered her carpeting remark saying there shouldn't be any carpeting anywhere in the building.

Hicks also said the examination rooms should be sound-proofed for patient privacy.

Although he had no actual estimate of what the renovations could cost, Hall wondered if the price tag could be as high as $750,000.

That got a quick response from Hicks.

"If they came back with a number like that, we wouldn't even bring it back to council," Hicks said.

"We're not looking for a $750,000 loan. We want the (building) to be more appealing to help with recruitment, but it's only a Band-Aid solution."

Hicks said the municipality could put some money into the facility and emphasized the committee is not looking for a complete renovation.

The building has not been renovated, Hicks explained, because it was hoped the medical centre would be replaced with a new building. But council abandoned the notion over cost.

"I don't think we can even talk about building a new medical centre in the near future," Hicks said. "It needs to be done, but (we) can't do it now."

Council gave no indication when it expects to receive the renovation cost estimate.

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget