The Grand Opening of the Gabriola Community Health Centre
A sky-high view of the ceremonies. Photo courtesy Don Butt
When it came to deciding who would cut the ribbon opening the Gabriola Community Health Centre, the answer was quite simple for the Gabriola Health Care Foundation Board. The whole community.
With a hundred snips of scissors, the ribbon encircling the new centre was cut and the decade-long dream of building a Community Health Clinic with an urgent care room officially became a reality.
This past Sunday, August 5, representatives were on hand bringing greetings and congratulations from all level of government involved in the creation of the clinic.
The ceremonies were opened by Bagpiper Sandy McKim, also a member of the BC Ambulance Service, seen above on the helipad built adjacent to the new Health Centre thanks to the donation of the Gabriola Ambulance Society.
In the photo to the right, cutting the ribbon are (in no particular order) Jean Crowder, MP Nanaimo-Cowichan; Ron Cantelon MLA Parksville (representing Ida Chong, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development); Doug Routley, MLA Nanaimo-N.Cowichan; Howard Houle, Director Area B, Regional District of Nanaimo; Sheila Malcolmson and Gisele Rudischer, Gabriola Island Trustees, Islands Trust; Bob Gallaher, BC Ambulance Service Director of Operations (Vancouver Island); Don Hubbard, Vancouver Island Health Board Authority, Board Chair.
The Honourable Steven L. Point, OBC, Lt. Governor of British Columbia, also sent congratulations on behalf of the Crown. It was read out by Gabriola RCMP Constable Mari Haslam.
John Campbell, volunteer coordinator for the building stage of the clinic, thanked all those who day in, day out, were part of making sure the project stayed on time.
Also speaking were the two doctors who work in the new clinic, Dr. Francois Bosman and Dr. Tracey Thorne
Francois said, “everyone realizes there is a large body of water between us and Nanaimo, for which most of us are grateful.
“But it does create time delays and the urgent care room has been essential for diagnosing and stabilizing patients. The urgent care room created was beyond our expectations. Thank you.”
Tracey said, “This building is beyond our expectations. There is a health that lives within its walls. It functions extremely well. The design is brilliant, so the hours [going over plans] was well worth it because we can effectively run through that clinic in a day. It has a health to it, an aura, I feel it does make us healthier. It is a nicer place to come to visit for health and prevention and wellness. And if you have to come to the other side for urgent care it is much better than before and much better than many many communities similar to ours would have opportunity for. It will help us recruit physicians and improve care.”
“Now that we have the infrastructure, the next thing is the human resources. A couple extra bodies....it would be great to have a nurse here who could work here in a concrete fashion in both the emergency care and in the preventative care.
“To have Home Care working with us side by side with us so we could discuss cases happening in the community. Not every person on the island is part of our practice, so when someone is sick we sometimes don’t know until 11 at night when they call 911. If we could work closely with the home care nurses, we could maybe prevent some of those cases from happening.
Jill Adamson, current Health Care Foundation President, spoke last requesting, “two specially people to the stand.
“Dr. Bob Rooks and Dallas Smith.”
She thanked Bob (in the middle in the photo to the left) for his generous donation of. “this very special land, so perfectly suited for this beautiful building.
“And or your insistence upon donating the money to add a lower level of leasable space.”
To Dallas, and his entire family at Arbutus Building Supplies, she said, “This family-owned and operated island businesa nd the Smith family personally have gone above and beyond anything we expected from any of our local businesses. They supplies all the material...at cost, often brokering special deals from suppliers...delivered on time, made special trips, donated the use of their heavy equipment at a moment’s notice just so the guys could get the job done.
“On behalf of your family and business, accept our deepest appreciation and thanks.”
Jill added, “Arbutus is only one of the many island businesses and tradespeople who have freely given of their time and expertise to make this Centre a reality.
“They are all listed in the special supplement donated by the Sounder (printed July 30) and they all come highly recommended.”
She also pointed out the various members of the current Health Care Foundation and Society Board who were present, in particular Harvey Graham, current treasurer for both organizations who has been with the Society since the first meeting where it was dreamed that Gabriola could have such a facility.
With that, she requested the community members present to circle round the Centre and with a countdown from 10, had the ribbon cut and declared the Centre, “officially open.”
Of course there was cake. (Sarah Holmes photo)
A peak inside the new urgent care room. (Derek Kilbourn photo)
Cutting the ribbon as a community. (Sarah Holmes photos)
Jackie Deare, Gabriolan with the BC Ambulance Service, cuts the opening ribbon. (Sarah Holmes photo)
Piper Sandy McKim and Gabriolan Sandy Simrose, both with the BC Ambulance Service, on duty with the ambulance just outside the new urgent care clinic. (Derek Kilbourn photo)
Constable Mari Haslam in full dress uniform representing the BC Lt. Governor. (Derek Kilbourn photo)