Gabriola clinic work to get going

Volunteers of the Gabriola Health Care Foundation are pinching themselves to ensure they aren’t dreaming.

Volunteers of the Gabriola Health Care Foundation are pinching themselves to ensure they aren’t dreaming.

For the past year, they’ve been working tirelessly to raise awareness and money for the island’s health care clinic and are now closing further on their goal. On June 4, the foundation is hosting a groundbreaking ceremony at the clinic’s location, at the north end of Church Street.

“This is a major milestone,” said Brenda Fowler, president of the foundation. “We feel like we are on top of a mountain and we can see the clinic.”

Nancy Nevison, chairwoman of the Gabriola Health Care Auxiliary, said it’s exciting and the groundbreaking ceremony will celebrate the hard work of everyone who has contributed to the cause.

“This is an historic event,” said Nevison. “It really is a community that has come together to build the clinic.”

The proposed clinic was initially estimated at $1 million, but changes in design plans for seismic and building code requirements, such as a sprinkler system, have pushed the cost to $1.38 million.

The foundation has raised nearly $900,000, plus donated labour and materials, and needs to raise an additional $450,000. Fowler said there is still a long way to go, but that some people were holding off on their donations until they were assured the project would become a reality.

The clinic location’s final rezoning is before the province. However, the foundation is undertaking site preparation in anticipation of approval.

The groundbreaking ceremony on June 4 is from noon to 2 p.m. Fowler said it’s a time to recognize community members and businesses that have sponsored the project.

The foundation will also have a fundraising thermometer on hand and are welcoming people to step on stage and give to the cause. Fowler said everyone is invited to participate in the ceremony, which includes a barbecue by donation, cake, musical entertainment and fundraising. Nevison said the foundation expects about 400 people to attend the event.

The foundation is gearing up for future fundraising events or people can support its ongoing campaigns. More information is available on the foundation’s website.

For more information on the foundation and the clinic please go to www.ghcs.ca or call the Gabriola Health Care Foundation Auxiliary office at 250-325-7215.