It wasn’t a big crowd, but it produced some hearty applause when the location for a health services hub in Quinte West was announced this morning.
A smiling CEO of the Southeast Local Health Integration Network Paul Huras announced that a piece of property very near Trenton Memorial Hospital will be the location for the hub.
Many people, including those involved with OurTMH and the Trenton Memorial Hospital Foundation, had wanted the hub located near the hospital.
That location had initially been the preferred location for a hub, but an environmental assessment by consultants found some of the soil to be contaminated above acceptable levels.
At that point, the LHIN announced the hub would be built on the site of the Belleville Quinte West Community Health Centre in downtown Trenton.
That decision drew protest from many people and organizations, including Quinte West Mayor Jim Harrison and his council.
The LHIN decided to take another look, and CEO Huras met with experts both from the provincial government and municipalities.
Huras admitted he had no expertise with environmental issues, but he knew the province was very leery of building on contaminated property. When he first perused the environmental report he said it “scared the daylights out of me!”
After a lot of discussion, he and the province became convinced that the contamination was not serious and not moving off the property. It could be capped with concrete or asphalt, or the contaminated soil could be dug up and hauled away.
The City of Quinte West has offered to do some site work and the mayor says it could cost as little as $3,000.
Consultants had estimated the cost of remediation could go as high as $700,000.
Mayor Jim Harrison says the decision was the result of a lot of people working together, and said the new health services hub near the hospital would make it even more attractive to move to and live in Quinte West or Brighton.
The multi-million dollar hub will be built in 2 or 3 phases. First to be built will be the Belleville-Quinte West Community Health Centre. That organization has been patiently waiting for an updated facility, as they are now located in what are essentially mobile homes in downtown Trenton.
Construction could begin this spring, but that will depend on approvals from the province.
Partners in the health hub will be the Community Health Centre, the VON, Addictions and Mental Health, Home and Community Care, Quinte Health Care, and the Brighton Quinte West Family Health Team.