KAWARTHA LAKES-Residents of Coboconk and surrounding area are breathing a sigh of relief today after council agreed to continue leasing a space for the temporary medical clinic.
In late 2016 the Coboconk Medical Centre facility was found to have significant structural issues and is currently scheduled for demolition in 2018. A temporary facility has been provided in order for medical services to continue in the community. Costs associated with the supply of the temporary facility have been included in the 2018 Operating Budget.
Staff recommended that the City should no longer be in the service of providing commercial space for the purpose of leasing to medical practitioners for their business and asked to terminate the lease of the temporary facility at the end of the term, which is January 2019. The councillor representing the Coboconk area pushed for council to keep the clinic open. “It’s an abrupt statement that we are going to cut out services at the end of this year.” said Councillor Yeo. “So if we do it (renew the lease) on a year by year basis it gives council the opportunity to say you know what we haven’t got all the information yet so we are going to extend it one more year. So it’s 3000 patients a year go to that medical centre in Coboconk, 500 dental patients attend that medical centre in Coboconk.
Councillor Macklem put forward a motion to direct staff to investigate the costs of erecting a permanent facility in Coboconk and that council direct staff to investigate the development of a grant program for the purposes of supporting the provision of medical services throughout the city. The motion also asked that current leases for medical practices be reviewed on a year to year basis until such time as council has has time to consider the other two options.
Councillor Dunn supported the motion. “You cant put a value on that medical centre in Coboconk for the people it serves and just the stability it gives to that whole area so I support the motion.”
However Councillor Junkin did not support it saying “I’m not sure the City should be in the business of buying office space for medical professionals, and I do agree maybe Coboconk would be under serviced if their were no medical professionals in the area but it should be the responsibility of the private sector to provide office space.”
Councillor Pollard was back to work for the first time since being injured after falling from a parade float in November. He supported the motion. “Its a good move, there’s a lot of people in Kawartha’s without a family doctor so anything we can do to preserve the ones that are there it think we need to support them.”
The short term gain of saving some money would not outweigh the long term pain to residents according to Councillor Miller.
The lease on the temporary medical centre costs the City approximately $36-$38,000 a year. Kirkfield is the only other community in the City where a similar structure has been adopted.
The motion passed.