Wondering what’s been going on with the new health centre on Bowen?
The answer is, plenty! It’s been a very busy spring for the Bowen Island Health Centre Foundation (BIHCF), and we thought it was time to update our fellow islanders on this much-anticipated community project.
First — after extensive consultation and negotiations with Council and the Mayor’s Standing Committee on Community Lands — we are close to confirming a site ideally suited for the team-based health centre that Bowen needs.
Our foundation entered the recent community lands process with several key priorities. We needed an easily accessible location, within walking distance of Snug Cove and the ferry and on the bus route. We needed adequate space to bring an integrated team of primary care physicians, allied health care professionals, dental practitioners, and community health programs together under one roof. And we needed the flexibility to expand our facility and services to meet the needs of a growing population in the decades ahead.
I’m delighted to report that a very generous donor has enabled the purchase of a site on Lot 3 of the community lands that meets all of these key requirements. [We are in the final stages of negotiating an agreement with the municipality which will be subject to public comment and will then go to Council for final approval.] It’s been a long journey, with many speed bumps, but thanks to our donor we finally have the right home for Bowen’s health centre, and we strongly request your support during the public comment period.
Second, we are starting the formal process of recruiting for primary care physicians for the new centre. Based on the unsolicited expressions of interest we’ve received from physicians over the past couple of years, and given Bowen’s many lifestyle attractions, we are confident that strong candidates will emerge.
Third, we have begun the conversation with public health authorities to give us access to the broad menu of community health care programs through Vancouver Coastal Health once the health centre is up and running.
Fourth, we have created a detailed business plan laying out how the health centre will operate and how it will be funded and governed once operations are underway.
Finally, we are about to formally kick off the fundraising campaign that will make all of this happen.
Our fundraising target to build and equip the centre is $5 million. We have already received $1.2 million in pledges, so we have a very strong start even before our formal campaign has begun.
In the first phase of the campaign, we will approach those in a position to provide us with the major donations we hope will take us most of the way to our target. We will then appeal to the community at large to help get us over the top.
In the meantime, we want to thank all of you for your words of support and encouragement over the past weeks and months – whether in your comments at meetings, letters to the Undercurrent, or private conversations. Your support means everything to making this much-needed health centre a reality for Bowen!