Straits area residents breathe tentative sigh of relief

Paul
Paul Hutchings
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Long-awaited health care facility set to open next week for Straits area

FLOWERS COVE Residents are cautiously optimistic that the health care facility in Flowers Cove will open when the Labrador Grenfell Regional Health Authority recently said it would.

Local residents in the Strait area have been waiting for the facility to open for at least a year, to replace the old one currently in service. Occupancy was set for just over a year ago but a barrage of issues ranging from flooring to water pressure have plagued the endeavor.

Flowers Cove resident Elizabeth Genge said she is happy with the announcement and hopes they can stick to the timetables. Genge recently had a kidney transplant and welcomes the news of a new facility in her area.

“I think it will make us all feel a lot better with a new facility here, I know I’ll feel better,” she said. “I’d like to see a dialysis unit put there but let’s get it open first.”

She stressed that the older facility was good to her, with good people, but a new one will be a lot better.

Isaac Chambers of Flowers Cove said he hasn’t had to use the hospital much but is happy for others who do.

“I was happy to hear about it. I know a lot of people need it,” he said. “They’ve been promising this for a while now.”

Anchor Point Mayor Gerry Gros called himself cautiously optimistic, and had a colour suggestion for the building’s paint.

“They should have painted it white, like a white elephant,” he said. “Yes, I’m happy about this but I’ll be happier when we actually see the doors open.”

The relocation of staff, departments and program services will begin on Jan. 20 according to Labrador-Grenfell Health in a statement. The transition is expected to take place over several days, meaning emergency services only will be provide between Jan. 20 and Feb. 2. After that, Gros said, the new facility should be open.

Gros serves on the Strait of Belle Isle Health Committee for the straits area. He said the new facility will serve residents from Anchor Point to Reese Harbour, about 2,000 people. Getting information out of the province was one of the biggest challenges.

The Anchor Point mayor said the building was owned by the Department of Transportation and Public Works, which controls all the tendering and contracting until completion. When they requested a finish time, Gros said, there was none forthcoming.

“Finally we had a meeting with (Labrador-Grenfell Regional Health Authority CEO) Tony Wakeham, who was trying to get it open, and I asked what year he had in mind,” said Gross. “He said this year, so we’re finally looking at it opening.”

Wakeham was unavailable for comment but said in a news release that some departments and services will become operational sooner than others. The new facility, he said, is well-equipped and state of the art, and represents a significant advancement in the delivery of healthcare options.”

Available services at the new health centre include emergency, ambulatory care/family medicine, public health and home care, dental; diagnostic, mental health and addictions, rehabilitation and intervention and diabetes care.

phutchings@thewesternstar.com

Twitter: WStarDeerLake

Organizations: Labrador Grenfell Regional Health Authority, Belle Isle Health Committee, Department of Transportation and Public Works Labrador-Grenfell Regional Health Authority CEO

Geographic location: FLOWERS COVE, Anchor Point

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