We are very excited to announce that plans are moving forward to bring a new Wellness Centre to Coboconk!
As you have probably already heard, the Chamber has been working hard on this initiative to build a Wellness Hub in Coboconk that will help to address the issues that have arisen from the closure of the Coboconk Medical Centre.
The concept is to renovate and expand the Coboconk Train Station building, preserving that significant piece of Coboconk history, and building space for 2-3 doctors, walk-in clinic hours, a dentist, and other complementary practitioners such as seniors foot care, massage, physio and chiropractic care. Expanded space through new construction, new parking, and better road access are all part of the new plans.
There has been a long-time perception of the community that there are not enough health services in the northern area of Kawartha Lakes. Although the community of Coboconk is very grateful to have a long-time family doctor, there are many who are still without a family doctor both in Coboconk and in its surrounding communities. No after-hours care exists in the north, and the need for this has been heard clearly. The nearest hospitals are 30-60 minutes away, and their emergency departments report high levels of patients utilising emergency department services for non-emergencies.
Given the fact that the original Coboconk Medical Centre building was shut down 4 years ago due to a compromised foundation and the family doctor was moved into a temporary portable building until a solution was found, it is clear that a more permanent solution is needed for health services in the north.
The Coboconk, Norland & Area Chamber of Commerce (CNACC) spear-headed an initiative to find the best possible solution for both the community and the municipality. After a deputation to City Council in September of 2018 presenting the issue, Council requested that the Chamber conduct a feasibility report and provided City funds for this purpose. A Feasibility Report has recently been completed and is the result of 18 months of community consultation, primary data collection, research on the gaps in care according to the MOHLTC, site evaluations, and building concept design.
Objectives of the Feasibility Report
• Health service gaps of our community;
• If, and/or how a wellness centre offering primary care and allied professional care could address service gaps and increase the efficiency of the current system;
• A model for a wellness centre based on perceived gaps and provincial trends in care;
• Potential services and the level of interest of doctors and allied health professionals in participating in the wellness centre health services delivery model and;
• The feasibility of a wellness centre, including the physical design of the facility, construction costs and the operating costs.
Vision of the Wellness Centre
To provide quality medical and wellness services to the residents and visitors of the City of Kawartha Lakes, Ward One by establishing a permanent wellness centre in the historic Coboconk Train Station. The Wellness Centre will provide a hub for community health that will bring increased access to conventional medicine and allied health care services, as well as community organizations in an underserved geographic area.
By providing space for more primary care physicians and nurse practitioners, much needed after-hours care, mental health supports, blood lab, dental services, home and community care services, pre & post-operative care, chiropractic and physiotherapy services, the needs of people in this area will be better served and will help to alleviate the strain on current health care services offered in Lindsay and Minden. The number of people in this area without a local family doctor is significantly higher than the provincial average, and these residents must drive a minimum of 30 minutes to the nearest hospital and/or after-hours care clinic.
1. There is a Gap In Care - There is a gap in health care services in the northern area of Kawartha Lakes. The family doctor in Coboconk is doing all he can to help the people, but does not have the capacity to address the gap in care. With no rural transit available, a larger than provincial average population of seniors, and a larger than provincial average of people earning a lower income, a local health services centre is greatly needed.
2. Impact on Emergency Departments - Given that the local family doctor is over-capacity, and that there are no after-care services available in the area, the nearest emergency departments are being accessed for non-emergency health care services. By adding to the burden of the nearest emergency departments for non-emergencies, resources at those emergency departments are being diverted from their needed focus on emergencies – an issue always, but even more so in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic and the forecast for future similar situations.
3. Recommended Site - The City-owned historic Coboconk Train Station building and surrounding property is a community facility but currently under-utilised. This site provides the opportunity to renovate the historic building, and expand its footprint with new construction to continue its community meeting use, while also housing a hub for health care and wellness services for those in the northern area of Kawartha Lakes. It has a high walk-ability score, and will bring people into the Coboconk community for their health care services.
4. Key Partnerships Indicate Success - Key partnerships with the community, the municipality, and the Kawartha Lakes Health Care Initiative (KLHCI) – who is mandated with the retention and recruitment of family doctors in Kawartha Lakes – are strengths indicating a high rate of success that this project will reach its goal of providing quality, year-round health care and wellness services to the northern communities.
5. Opportunity for Seniors Housing - The community has been very clear that there is a great need for seniors housing. The size and configuration of the Train Station site provides the opportunity for private developers/investors to build seniors housing, along with respite and hospice services. There are currently 2 developers who have indicated interest in the site for these purposes. People are excited about this possibility!
6. High Economic Benefit - The Wellness Centre will generate significant economic benefits for the community and also the municipality as a whole. Not only will the Wellness Centre create jobs during renovation and construction, there will be a maintained positive economic impact as new doctors and other practitioners, support staff, and community organizations are engaged, and new residents and families find it an attractive place to settle with good access to medical care. Apart from the positive impact on the people of our communities, the documented economic impact of having a doctor in a community is significant. The Kawartha Lakes Health Care Initiative estimates approximately $500,000 - $1,000,000 in economic development/year/physician in a community.
Overall, the Wellness Centre will result in:
• good quality, year-round jobs;
• retention of seniors in our community;
• attraction of new retirees as well as families and professionals;
• attraction of new investment and;
• long term positive impact on local businesses.
7. A Spark for Economic Recovery amid COVID-19 - Given the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wellness Centre project represents a key opportunity to spark economic activity and prosperity in Kawartha Lakes – both short term construction jobs, and long term good quality, year-round jobs.
Overall, there are many benefits that will emerge through the construction of a Wellness Centre in Coboconk. Most significant are these:
An innovative, well-designed facility that will attract doctors and practitioners to serve the needs of permanent and seasonal residents in the northern area of the Kawartha Lakes – a Ministry of Health designated under-served area.
The Wellness Centre will be part of a long-term strategy post-COVID-19 to ensure that the strain of dealing with non-emergencies in our local Emergency Departments is alleviated, allowing Emergency Departments to focus on the pandemic or emergency.
The Wellness Centre will serve as a lever to significant economic development in the area, benefiting local business, residents, tourists, and the municipality.
Want to get involved in a project that will help to serve the needs of the northern parts of Kawartha Lakes and bring more jobs and economic activity to our area? Email email@example.com or call 705-454-1110. We would love to hear from you!
Want more info? Here are a few resources we can share with you so far:
Slide Presentation: July 2019 Community Meetings
Background Document: The Need for a Wellness Centre in Coboconk
Want to know more about the history of the Train Station and the village of Coboconk? http://cobytrainstation.ca/
More Info to Come...stay tuned!