By: Mike Anderson

While the provincial stay-at-home order ruled out an official groundbreaking ceremony that didn’t seem to upset Health Georgina Chair Steve Jacobson.

He was just glad to see construction begin on April 19 for the Georgina Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic (GNPLC) rebuild at 21071 Dalton Rd. in Jackson’s Point.

“Today is a great day. We’re bringing the nurse practitioners back home to Jackson’s Point. Everybody is excited, including the residents and the nurse practitioners. It’s been a long time coming, and we’re really pleased to have shovels in the ground today,” Mr. Jacobson said.

“I’ll be even more excited when we turn the keys over to the nurse practitioners, which hopefully will be the the end of August, if not earlier.”

Once completed, the new clinic will provide residents with a state-of-the-art health facility and allow the nurse practitioners to expand their patient capacity by more than 800 patients.

“The Georgina Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic Team and Board are very excited to see movement on the Dalton Road site and are thrilled that Health Georgina has been able to move this project along,” Beth Cowper-Fung, GNPLC Clinical Director, said.

“We look forward to working with Health Georgina on the exterior as well as our new contractors, pending our tender, towards the completion of a state-of-the-art medical facility.”

“With what we have learned throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic about air filtration, patient flow, personal protection and disinfecting, a new facility will allow us to provide the best, safest possible care to our patients.”

Health Georgina, the volunteer-run, non-profit organization overseeing the clinic rebuild, awarded the contract to Kenstruct Ltd, a general contractor based in Pefferlaw.

Kenstruct Ltd. specializes in commercial and industrial projects, including gas stations, convenience stores and truck stops.

“We’re really excited to have Ken on board. It’s local people building this. He’s also going to subcontract with a lot of local contractors here in Georgina, so that employs more people in the community,” said Mr. Jacobson.

Ken Jamieson, President, Kenstruct Ltd.

“It’s great to be working locally,” Ken Jamieson, President, Kenstruct Ltd, said.

“Most of our work we’ve done in the past has been all over Ontario, so it’s nice to have a project close to home finally and to work with some of the local trades on.’

“We don’t have a huge amount of sub-trades right now because it’s phase one on the project, which is the construction of the building and the earthwork. But when the nurse practitioner portion of the job comes out, which is the interior, there would be a lot more trades involved at that point and a lot of work for them.”

Mr. Jamieson will also be able to source labour from Georgina’s new GTTI Skilled Trades Institute, which has agreed to provide its carpentry and electrical students to help complete the project.

According to John De Faveri, GTTI Board Chair, the students, under the supervision of their instructors, will be primarily involved in roofing, drywall installation, as well as some rough-ins for services.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be able to participate in this project,” Mr. De Faveri said.

“Ken’s reputation and the caliber of work he does is outstanding. And we’re delighted to have our students part of a local initiative that’s going to benefit the community.”

“We’ve said we want to be part of economic growth in the Town, I think this is the point where we’ve put our money where our mouth is, and we’re demonstrating that.”

With the phase one budget, according to Mr. Jacobson, set at $1.3 million, the project still faces significant challenges, including skyrocketing material costs, which, in some cases, have already risen 300 per cent.

“We were quite concerned about it,” Mr. Jamieson said. “That’s why the day we received the contract, we issued all our purchase orders to all of our subcontracts and suppliers and said purchase everything today.”

“So when we need the materials on-site, we’re not hearing they’re six weeks out and that there’s been another price increase, which is our biggest concern.”

However, the pandemic has also made it difficult to source major building components, like joists and beams.

“We’re already on our plan B,” Mr Jamieson said.

“Suppliers have already called and said there’s no way they could guarantee delivery of two of the major components, TJI floor joists and laminated veneer lumber (LVL) beams, here in 2021.

So we went to a backup plan and got a large lumber company that could commit to us to get materials. They’ve never let us down before, and they’re a huge Canadian company.”

Despite these challenges, Mr. Jamieson is confident that he can complete phase one of the project, the outer shell of the building and parking lot, on time and budget.

“We plan to be done the shell by the end of August. Shell, paving, everything. But we’ve left a little bit of a buffer in there for some weather and potential material delays,” he said.

“It’s relatively straightforward. When the design came out last year, we had some concerns, but they were able to work out some new design changes, which is what came out to tender this year. “

“It’s a rectangular building, and the site services are minimal, so we’re not anticipating any issues whatsoever.”

However, according to Dale Genge, Chair of Health Georgina’s building committee, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing.

A major issue over a water service connection, which came up just days before tendering the job, could have meant a significant delay.

“I happened to catch a note on one of the drawings that said cap the waterline up the street, and I’d understood that York Region didn’t want us digging up the road,” Ms. Genge said.

“So I started making calls just the week before we wanted to go to tender. Eventually, the Region and the Town talked, and the Town did come to a compromise, and they’re letting us bring in two different water lines, which is normally not allowed. It also saved us a lot of money.”

With that crisis narrowly averted, Mr. Jacobson was able to tender the job, and give Kenstruct Ltd. the green light.

“It was a community clinic, and it was made clear at our AGM that the community wanted it back,” he said.

“There’s a lot of sentimental feeling towards this site. A lot of people went here for medical care. As a kid, I went to Doc Burrows at his clinic. My parents went to Doc Burrows. So it has a history to me as a place where my family got medical attention. So I’m glad to see it back here in the Point.”

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