Primary Care Centre in Peace River – UPDATE

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Northern Sunrise County has committed up to five million dollars to build a Primary Care Medical facility on donated land in Peace River next to the Community Health Centre. Once complete the Primary care facility will be handed over to Alberta Health Services (AHS) to own, maintain and manage. The physicians will then move to the new facility which will increase the number of patients physicians can see each day, as well as streamline traveling to and from the Health Centre. Additionally, a new modern facility will help in the process of physician attraction to the region.

The Site

The location of the new Primary Care Centre will be to the southwest of the Community Health Centre, south of the new Rotary House. The clinic will sit on 1.65 acres of land. The clinic will be approximately 14,500 square feet.

The land was owned by North Peace Housing Foundation (NPHF) with a caveat from Frank Lovsin that the one acre he was donating be used as a medical clinic and a pharmacy could not be located on site. The donated site was one acre, but due to the irregular shape of the lot NSC opted to purchase the adjoining .65 acres to ensure sufficient space for the building and parking.

To date:

Several meetings were held with representatives of Beairsto and Associates Engineering LT As well as AHS and the Physicians to develop a floorplan that would incorporate the needs of all parties.

  • The full 1.65 acres has been purchased and NSC has full possession and title of the property effective June 1, 2018.
  • NSC has received permission from the Town of Peace River to own the property (Primary Care site) which sits within the Town of Peace River limits until the facility is turned over to Alberta Health Services.
  • Preliminary work has started on the site and construction of the building will be starting soon with services being brought in from the property line to the site and the foundation and pilings coming n County Administration staff will continue to collaborate with the construction partners to ensure the project runs smoothly.

The Building

The building is proposed to be 14,500 square feet and will house offices for 14 physicians, 28 exam rooms, dedicated AHS space to allow close integration with medical services and washrooms, staff rooms, mechanical, IT and other necessary storage and rooms required for a clinic. Consideration is being given for bariatric patients.

Both AHS and the physicians reviewed the floor plan and provided input into best options for traffic flow, patient comfort, and required rooms and facilities.

NSC is primarily building a facility for the physicians but recognize the need for input from AHS as they will be assuming ownership of the building and will have access to a portion of the centre. As such NSC is ensuring the new building will incorporate AHS standards.

To date:

  • NSC has contracted Beairsto and Associates Engineering LTD for architectural and engineering services for the County, hence the clinic.
  • Final drawings for the floorplan are being completed.
  • Dibbelt attended the Canada Medical Trade Show in Edmonton. Valuable contacts were made, and we have requested quotes, based on the floorplan, for the equipment required for the clinic.

The Physicians and AHS

A key component in NSC moving forward with the clinic is an agreement between AHS and the physicians to ensure that once the facility is complete the physicians will relocate to the facility.

  • There have been ongoing meetings between NSC, AHS and the physicians to negotiate an agreement for relocation.
  • A key issue is the monthly fee for physicians in the new facility and what is included in the monthly fee AHS will charge physicians.
  • Physicians and AHS were provided a template lease used by other municipally owned clinics.
  • While AHS is property tax exempt, physicians are a professional corporation and will be required to pay property tax on any exclusive use areas in the clinic. This cost had to be included in the monthly fee charged physicians by AHS.
  • On May 9, 2018 an agreement was signed between AHS and the nine physicians that are presently working out of the Peace River Clinic and will be here in the fall of 2019, when we anticipate the new clinic will open.

Other Municipalities and Funding

This clinic is a result of a long-standing group of municipalities that worked to make this happen.

  • The Municipal District of Peace 135 has committed $50,000 toward the building.
  • The County of Northern Lights has committed $50,000 toward the
  • The Town of Peace River has committed $552,203.13 toward the building. This is equivalent to the cost of the additional .65 acres as well as off-site levies and improvemen
  • Approximately $140,000 sits in a fund established several years ago made up of donations from industry toward the new facility. These funds are being transferred to NSC to go toward the cost of building the centre. Of these funds, $100,000 was donated by Pennwest Energy, now Obsidian Energy, $20,000 by Daishowa-Marubeni International Ltd. (DMI) and $30,000 by Rotary. It should be noted some of the funds had been expended for previous work on the Medical Centre of Excellence – the original concept for the medical clinic.
  • Dibbelt has contacted the various donors to discuss their donations from the past and advise the funds are being used to complete the new build.
  • Dibbelt is working on a draft recognition plan for all donors.
  • The Lovsin family has commissioned two portraits of Frank and Agnes Lovsin and Dan and Rose Lovsin to hang in the new clinic.

Next Steps

Moving forward will require AHS and the Physicians to create an agreement that will satisfy NSC’s need for assurance that the facility will be used by the physicians. Once this is reached the next steps will be:

  • Continue working with donors to ensure they are kept aware of progress and to assess if any committed funds, but not paid up front, are still available.
  • Continue working with stakeholders to ensure a smooth build.

Northern Sunrise County is hosting a ground-breaking ceremony on June 12 at 4 PM and anticipates a late 2019 opening of the building. NSC continues to work diligently to keep this process moving in an efficient manner.