District wants health centre

The District of Summerland will be bringing an idea for a community health and wellness centre to the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver later this month.

The convention is the one time a year representatives of local governments from across B.C. get the chance of face-to-face meetings with provincial ministers.

Summerland says it will be seeking meetings with the Ministers of Education, Health, Municipal Affairs and Child Care to pitch an idea for a community health centre. 

The centre would be a joint partnership between Summerland, School District 67, the Penticton Indian Band, Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen and the local division of family practice. 

“An undertaking of this size is a multi-year project and will only be possible through continued collaboration with committed partners, which includes senior levels of government,” said Summerland Mayor Toni Boot.

There are currently 12,000 residents in Summerland and Penticton without a family doctor, a number that is expected to grow. In an attempt to attract family physicians and nurse practitioners to the community, the District of Summerland says it has been working with the healthcare industry to identify partnership opportunities. 

The Okanagan Skaha School District is also on board, and agrees a combined space would work best; hosting clinic space for primary care teams, a recreation complex and new gym for high school / community use, swimming pool and recreation facilities and childcare space.

“The Summerland Secondary gymnasium is the school district’s top capital priority. We are committed to exploring any options that will help us move forward with a new facility,” said SD 67 Board Chair Shelley Clarke. 

“The District of Summerland and the school district have a long history of working together successfully; joint partnerships have resulted in the new skateboard park, Centre Stage Theatre and the current aquatic centre. We will be working with the District of Summerland to support their Community Wellness Centre initiative and explore further partnership opportunities as we move forward with our goal of replacing the current gymnasium.”

The District of Summerland will also be lobbying the provincial government to improve safety for cyclists along Highway 97, improve safety of the Highway 97 and Bentley Road intersection, increase recycling drop-off locations, remove barriers for climate change adaptation projects and explore a partnership for Eneas Creek flood mitigation.

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