Dream of Central Manitoulin FHT building finally realized

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held as part of the grand opening of the Manitoulin Central Family Health Team facility, on September 10. In photo left to right is Lynn Foster Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC) CAO, Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing NDP candidate Carol Hughes, MHC board member Angela Becks, MHC CEO Derek Graham, Dr. Nick Jeeves chair of the MCFHT board, Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha, MHC board member Chris Bousquet, Nickelbelt MPP France Gelinas and MCFHT executive director Lori Oswald. From left is Lynn Foster Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC) CAO, Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing NDP candidate Carol Hughes, MHC board member Angela Becks, MHC CEO Derek Graham, Dr. Nick Jeeves chair of the MCFHT board, Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha, MHC board member Chris Bousquet, Nickelbelt MPP France Gelinas and MCFHT executive director Lori Oswald.

MINDEMOYA—The grand opening of the Manitoulin Central Family Health Team (MCFHT) at the Mindemoya Hospital marks the completion of the project construction that took place over the past year—and a dream that has been in place since 2006.

“Once again, I have the opportunity to welcome you all to the grand opening of this, the final phase of the implementation of our Family Health Team,” said Dr. Nick Jeeves chair of the MCFHT board. “I want to thank all of you for coming to share with us the excitement we have in continuing to enhance delivery of primary care services for all residents of Manitoulin. This FHT project was initiated in 2006 and received approval in late 2009.”

“I would like to extend a warm welcome and sincere thank you to everyone here today on this very special occasion,” said Lynn Foster of the Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC). “It was one year ago today that we gathered for the groundbreaking for construction,” noting that despite delays caused by weather and soil conditions, the project was completed within the time lines and budget set.

Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha, who was on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony, said, “it is always nice to come back to the Island, especially when we are celebrating the culmination of such a significant event. This project proves that when a group of individuals put their minds, effort and focus on a project, nothing can stop you.”

“If you don’t have your health you don’t have anything,” stated Carol Hughes, NDP candidate for the Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing federal seat. “I am so pleased to see this massive expansion having taken place. The services provided here are key to the community and the health of its residents.”

France Gelinas, MPP for Nickel Belt said, “I’m the health care critic for the NDP and we have 52 small rural hospitals within my riding. Many can’t get all the necessary equipment needed and have crumbling infrastructure. But here on Manitoulin you have beautiful infrastructure, great staff and new projects. Everyone involved in this project can be proud of what you have accomplished and health care in the community is better because of it.”

MHC Board member Chris Bousquet stated, “it’s a great day here to celebrate this 3,800 square-foot addition that will provide for enhanced care. This is a huge accomplishment and provides an enhanced work environment for staff and physicians and enhanced care for patients.” Although he acknowledged there are many people that need to be recognized, he pointed out the work of Lynn Foster and Lori Oswald, “who collaboratively saw the start and finish of the project.” As well, he noted Tribury Construction, the  project contractor, Yallowega Belanger Architects and project manager Barry Parsons for their efforts.

“We would also like to thank all the funders who made this  happen, and the community support in fundraising, such as both hospital auxiliaries for helping to make this happen,” said Mr. Bousquet.

Derek Graham, MHC president and CEO, noted, “a project like this takes incredible collaboration and cooperation. A hospital can be an important catalyst, but without the strength and support of all other parties-can’t succeed.” He praised the many participants for their dedication and efforts, including Dr. Jeeves, Lori Oswald, Lynn Foster, and the MHC board for believing in the project.

Dr. Jeeves said “the first hirings (at MCFHT) took place in 2010, and we now have a total of 6.8 FTE positions added to the local community. We act as a flow-through agency to employee professionals in the TOP Program, and contract a further eight full or part-time employees. We now have added 16 Chronic Disease and Health Promotion programs, and we collaborate with approximately 35 community organizations and health-related agencies. This is not merely the culmination of a nine year project but the commitment to a long history of incremental and improved services.”

“I would like to take the opportunity to thank our sponsors: Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, Manitoulin Health Centre, Township of Central Manitoulin, Espanola and District Credit Union, M’Chigeeng and other Manitoulin First Nations, Yallowega Belanger Architects, Tribury Construction, many businesses and individuals within the community for supporting this project financially. Thank you for your generosity, your commitment, and your patience,” said Dr. Jeeves.

Angela Becks, member of  MHC board of directors, spoke about what the new FHT facility will mean for the community.

Retired former M’Chigeeng First Nation Chief Joseph Hare said, “on behalf of chief and council and chair of M’Nidoo M’Nissing  I am pleased and honoured to make this presentation on behalf of our communities and our residents.” He presented a painting by Blair Debassige, and offered congratulations to all those who had a part in making the new MCFHT building a reality.

“We are so honoured that all you are here today for this celebration,” said Lori Oswald, of MCFHT, “and so humbled by your words of appreciation. This project brought together several organizations wanting to see this project come to a reality.”

“I have had the pleasure of working with an incredible group of skilled, dedicated people who made this dream a reality,” said Ms. Oswald. She praised the architects, contractors and project manager for all their efforts,  those on the planning committee, those who worked hard behind the scenes, funders, and the MHC  board.

“I am honoured to work with an amazing team of health care workers and staff,” said Ms. Oswald. “I would like to thank each and every one of you. And to the patients who have been so patient during this project, thank you,” added Ms. Oswald.     

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