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Gabriola Health Centre nears completion

After three years and what seemed like a monumental fundraising task, the Gabriola Health Centre nears completion.

“It’s taken just over two years to raise $1.4 million,” said Nancy Nevison, chairwoman of the health centre auxiliary. “We’re a few dollars short, but we’ll get there.”

The three-bed urgent care and medical clinic will see two physicians move in next month and begin treating patients in June. An official opening is scheduled for August.

The clinic includes room for up to four doctors and the clinic is trying to recruit physicians to relocate to the rural island, said Nevison.

After a $100,000 grant from the Vancouver Island Health Authority last week, plus smaller donations, about $80,000 is still left to raise.

“Every donation helps,” Nevison said.

The clinic also received a donation from the Gabriola Ambulance Society, an organization which provides free ambulance services and medical equipment in the home to speed recovery. The ambulance society paid for a helicopter landing pad next to the clinic’s urgent care room.

Nevison said the new location will cut off about 20 minutes from the journey.

“That’s a huge lifesaving difference in time,” she said.

The health clinic is hosting an open house to dedicate the helicopter pad to the ambulance society on April 28, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. People can pick up a brown bag lunch and cake after touring the new facility.

Nevison said she expects a large group of supporters from Nanaimo, including people with health issues who left Gabriola to be closer to medical services.

“Maybe now we’ve got this they’ll move back,” Nevison said.

Gabriola Health Centre is located at Twin Beaches shopping centre, 377 Berry Point Rd. For more information, please visit www.ghcs.ca.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com

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