By: Mike Anderson
The rebuild of the Georgina Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic (GNPLC) at 21071 Dalton Rd. in Jackson’s Point is finally moving forward.
Health Georgina, the volunteer-run, non-profit organization that owns the land and is tasked with the rebuild, issued the tender on February 26, with construction expected to begin in early May.
On March 8, The Post was invited to a site meeting for contractors bidding on the project, held at the Dalton Rd. location.
“It’s a big day because when we took over the board we set the goal to rebuild the nurse practitioners offices here,” said Health Georgina Chair Steve Jacobson, who was happy the project was back on track.
“It’s taken a little longer with COVID, but today we have some potential builders on site and hopefully the bids will be in, in a couple of weeks, and we’ll be able to award the contract and get to work.”
“Once we get shovels in the ground we hope to be finished within six months and then the nurse practitioners will take over. I think they’ll be in the building a year from now in the spring, that’s their goal.”
But, while the nurse practitioners got a $1.63 million provincial grant to help outfit the inside of the clinic, courtesy of the former Liberal government, Health Georgina still needs to raise funds to complete the building’s outer shell.
“We’re very confident that we can hit the numbers we need because we’re starting from a position of strength. The vast majority of the funds are already in place,” said Daryl Urquhart, a board member and the head of fundraising for Health Georgina.
“But we have to get our residents interested in participating and taking ownership of the healthcare that we bring to town.”
“There will be a local fundraising program, as well as a wider reaching program involving foundations, grants, government and various philanthropic efforts as well.”
The Town of Georgina has already provided assistance with the project, expediting approvals, cutting red tape and waiving significant development charges.
“The Town has been very good with us,” Mr. Jacobson said.
“Deputy CAO Ryan Cronsberry, who’s the Town’s staff liaison on the board, has been making sure that we get pushed through. Mayor Quirk has been helping too. And the fact that the Town reimbursed us almost a hundred thousand dollars in fees that we paid is huge, because, you know, that’s a good part of the budget that we now have back in the bank to pay for the building.”
While Health Georgina is encouraging local contractors to bid on the work, they could face some significant obstacles.
“It would be nice to see,” Dale Genge, Treasurer of Health Georgina and Chair of the Building Committee, said.
“But the factor that might limit that is that we’re requiring bonding, and smaller contractors may not be able to get the bonding.”
While local contractors may or may not be able to participate in the build, Mr. Jacobson is quick to point out that many residents and local businesses have been responsible for getting the project this far.
“I’m very pleased with the cooperation we got from all the parties that were involved in helping this get done. Everybody knew the goal. And, I think we’re on the course now to achieve it,” he said.
“Jackson’s Point took a hit when the clinic burned down and the whole area is in need of improved healthcare,” Mr. Urquhart added.
“So this is a big day because this is a real concrete step towards rebuilding healthcare in the Sutton and Jackson’s Point area.”