Press items - 2010:

Medical Clinic bylaws pass first reading

Gabriola Sounder, Derek Kilbourn, derek@soundernews.comMonday, December 20 2010

There will be no split-zoning on the Medical Clinic lot, if the re-zoning application is approved, as this past Thursday the Local Trust Committee did not follow through on most of the recommendations passed by the Gabriola Advisory Planning Commission.

By the end of the discussion, Bylaw 260 (to amend the Official Community Plan) had passed first reading. Draft Bylaw 261, which amends the Land-Use Bylaw, was not given first reading in the LTC meeting, but the Trust Committee will likely be sending it to a first reading in a resolution-without-meeting this week.

Trustee Sheila Malcolmson and LTC Chair Louise Bell both spoke against the concept of split-zoning the lot in to portions of Institutional and Forestry zoning.

Sheila said, “I don’t agree with the split-zoning area. To do so would invite gravel pits and logging, it would add a residence. Forest zoning has no conservation relevance and is about logging.

“I think we have 10 large forestry zoned acreages on the island. This isn’t the last.”

Within the question of the principal and accessory use, Sheila said she still wanted to keep the principal use as Urgent Care Medical Clinic.

“I still support that as being the main use. That’s what is special about it.”

Sheila continued, saying, “It is the urgent medical care that has the public support, we’re not fundraising for doctors offices. It is the whole reason we are looking at this, otherwise there are other spaces which serve as doctors offices.

“The applicant raised the question of what if they didn’t have medical coverage for the urgent care part, would that put the doctors office at risk. I can’t believe that scenario would unfold at the bylaw enforcement level.

“I promise you, the Islands Trust will never have enough legal resources the bylaw enforcement officer is going to show up and say we are going to court.

“I still want to see the urgent care as the principal and the medical office as the attendant.”

The APC had also recomended pulling the ambulance and helipad uses from the Clinic permitted uses, but the LTC has decided to keep those in the bylaw.

The APC had commented on the fact that there was a potential competition conflict with the medical office being built when there is already a medical space operating on the island.

Sheila said, “I absolutely hear the argument and it is a conundrum. My understanding with the Trust’s authority is we can’t say to the applicant to go and rent from this other place or re-zone this other property, we have to deal with the application in front of us.

“The Trust committee does not have the authority to figure out other people’s business plans.”

Within draft bylaw 261, medical lab was removed from ‘accessory uses’ and was added to the definition of ‘medical office’

Also, ‘public’ was added to the definition of ‘medical office.’

Sheila had several requests for the Health Care Foundation and Trust Staff.

• The Gabriola LTC (GLTC) requests that the Gabriola Health Care Foundation (GHCF) document it’s intention to have the health care membership ratify a policy that no assets can be sold without a majority vote of the community; and request also they consider adopting the policy before the bylaw is adopted. (There had been concerns voiced at the APC and Town Hall portion of the LTC meeting that there needed to be some way to keep the land from falling in to private ownership rather than the community)

• The GLTC requests that GHCF document how and when the ownership of the new institutional parcel will transfer to the health care foundation. (During the Town Hall portion of the LTC meeting, it had been asked if there was any formal paperwork ensuring that the current owner, Dr. Bob Rooks, would be donating the land to the GHCF if the land is re-zoned. There is a pledge, but both the members of the public and the Trustees commented it would be good to have a formal document in place, available to the public to see.)

• The GLTC requests that the GHCF provide both documents to the LTC before a public hearing is scheduled and;

• The GLTC requests that staff advise the LTC on how commitments could be linked to a final decision, for example a legal undertaking provided in time for the public hearing or a covenant to ensure perpetual community ownership.

• The GLTC requests the Health Care Foundation document how re-zoning and owning the land improves service delivery compared to their current location.

• The GLTC requests that Trust staff clarify the development implications for the remaining 75 acre forestry lot development potential.

• The GLTC requests a clarification considering future ambulance station requirements. Staff clarify the process for building the ambulance station or community care facility, if they are allowed in the zoning.

For the record, Trustee Deborah Ferens removed herself from the proceedings, stating she had a very faint business conflict within the application.

She said, “I have a business relationship with a party. It is not with the property owner, Dr. Rooks, the Society or with the applicant’s agent. I checked with the Islands Trust lawyers, they have recommended I not participate in the discussion or with the application. I wish you all luck, I hope it all goes well.”

With Deborah removed, in the event of a tie between the two remaining trustees (Sheila and Louise), a motion would fail.

With the bylaws passing first reading, a public hearing will be scheduled once staff has informed and received feedback from all the necessary associated government and community agencies.

The GHCF has called an [extraordinary] general meeting for January 7th, 2011.

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Trust calls for assurances from health society

Flying Shingle, Monday, December 20, 2010

The Local Trust Committee (LTC) has asked the Gabriola Health Care Society (GHCS) to provide assurances that a proposed community medical clinic cannot be sold to private interests.

At their Thursday meeting at the WI Hall, Trustees also asked that the society provide documentation that the land will be transferred to the society from Dr. Bob Rooks, the current owner, and a clear explanation for how the having a community owned clinic makes it easier to attract doctors, or improve service and care.

“I am still not 100 per cent clear on how the rezoning achieves the community’s goals”, Trustee Sheila Malcolmson said. She said when someone in the public asks “why is this going to be better than Twin Beaches” she would like to have a one page description to be able to refer to.

Earlier in the meeting GHCS President Brenda Fowler offered to amend their constitution to require that any transfer of ownership of the community clinic be approved by the majority of Gabriolans at a special general meeting. Malcolmson suggested that the society make those constitutional changes soon. Fowler said Friday that a special meeting has been called to do so.

Malcolmson also asked for documentation of how and when the transfer of ownership of the parcel will be made, and for a staff report on how to make the final adoption of the bylaws conditional on the written receipt of those assurances.

Trustees agreed to keep the urgent treatment room as the clinic’s principle use and make the medical offices an accessory use. Malcolmson said community feedback is clear that it is the urgent treatment component of the clinic that is special about the project and that “we’re not doing fundraising for doctors’ offices”. She said this had to be reflected in the zoning.

Malcolmson also said that the applicant’s concern that the doctors’ offices would be closed down if the urgent treatment room was temporarily out of commission was unlikely. She said: “There is nothing in the definition that says the coverage has to be 24/7”, and “the Islands Trust is never going to have enough legal resources” to force the medical offices to shut down “unless that was a forever thing”.

The definition of “Medical Office” should say that it is for the benefit of the Gabriola Trust Area, Malcolmson said. She said Gabriolans had not fundraised for patients from Nanaimo, and “this is one of the ways that we can try to keep it as a community idea in zoning”.

Malcolmson disagreed with a proposal by the Advisory Planning Commission APC that the new lot be split-zoned Forestry and Institutional 4. She said the split-zoning would add another residence and more development potential - including gravel pits and logging. However, she did agree with the commission that home-schooling be removed from the possible uses, that the operation of a medical lab be incorporated in the definition of “Medical Offices”.

Regarding community concerns about the applicants competing with the medical clinic at the Gabriola Professional Centre, Malcolmson said that while she understood the concerns, the LTC had to deal with the application in front of them, and pay attention to whether or not there is community support for the rezoning. She said: “If the community feels this is an overabundance of medical space or commercial space, they need to tell us that, and that is a very fair reason for a community to tell us they don’t support the bylaws”, but the LTC does not have the ability to draw those conclusions themselves.

In response to a request from the APC that the word “public” be incorporated into the definitions, the LTC agreed that the term “public health care establishment” in the definition of “Medical Office”.

Malcolmson also asked for more information from staff on a number of issues including: the development implications for the Forestry zoned parcel that would be left behind if the land is rezoned and subdivided, and; the permitting process and implications for allowing an ambulance station on the lot.

The LTC decided to wait for the staff report, and give first reading of the draft Land Use Bylaws through a resolution without meeting via email next week. They also gave first reading to the draft Official Community Plan amendment, and sent it to their referral agencies for comment.

Trustee Deborah Ferens recused herself from the discussion due to a potential conflict of interest.

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Proposed clinic solution won’t work: Jackson

Flying Shingle, Monday, December 13, 2010

A suggestion by proponents on how to ensure medical offices cannot remain in operation unless a three-bed urgent treatment room (UTR) is also providing service will not work according to Regional Planning Manager Chris Jackson.

At a Dec. 1 Advisory Planning Commission (APC) meeting called to discuss an application for rezoning and future subdivision of Forestry zoned lands at the top of Church Street, Gabriola Health Care Society (GHCS) members proposed that both uses be identified as “primary uses”, and linked by an “and” in bylaws being considered by the Local Trust Committee (LTC).

However, Jackson said by phone on Dec. 5, in legalese “and” is seen as synonymous with “or”. Jackson said this means that the applicants’ suggestion won’t work.

But Jackson also said that when Planners attend APC or other community meetings they understand their job is to get a sense of the intent of what community members want, and make it work in the bylaws.

As previously reported Jackson had recommended that the medical offices be an accessory use to the UTR. However the applicants were also concerned that if doctors were not available to staff the UTR, the primary-care medical offices would not be allowed to operate.

Jackson also responded to a question about the gap of time that can take place between when property is rezoned and when it is subdivided. He said that in theory once the land is rezoned, the applicants can start building even though the land has not been subdivided.

However, Jackson said, he is sure that is not the applicants’ intent. As previously reported, the land is being donated to GHCS by Dr. Bob Rooks. The ownership of the land will be transferred to the GHCS at the time of subdivision.

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Health centre fundraisers closing in on $1M target

By Rachel Stern - Nanaimo News BulletinWednesday, December 8 2010

The Gabriola Health Care Foundation’s dream of creating a clinic on the island is closing in on its goal.

The foundation is determined to raise $1 million by year’s end and start construction in 2011. To date, the foundation has raised $716,000, which includes donations of building supplies and labour.

With only a few weeks left in December, fundraisers believe the goal is still attainable. If it isn’t met, the organizations will continue to fundraise in the new year.

Nancy Nevison, chairwoman of the Gabriola Health Care Auxiliary, said donations are coming in from people rushing to meet the income tax donation deduction deadline.

There are also several small fundraisers and Nevison said community support has been amazing.

“We’re just humbled by how the community has pulled together. It’s unbelievable,” said Nevison. “It was a dream that this could happen and it’s almost a reality now.”

The property selected for the clinic is 1.6 hectares donated by Gabriola’s Bob Rook, located at the top of Church Street. The property is currently in the rezoning process.

Two petitions were also recently created – one in favour of allowing the clinic on the property and one opposed.

The foundation hopes to begin construction in the spring and have the facility completed by next fall.

For more information about the clinic or to donate, please call the auxiliary office at 250-325-7215 or go to

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Some Gabriolans cool to proposed medical clinic

Dustin Walker, Daily News (Nanaimo)Wednesday, December 8 2010

A Gabriola Island couple say they launched a blog questioning the need for a proposed $1-million urgent care clinic in the hopes it sparks more discussion about the viability of such a project.

Shena Meadowcroft and her partner Tony Gibson went online with last weekend, which aims to provide a forum for "full and accurate disclosure" of information surrounding the clinic.

Gabriola Island residents have been working for about three years to bring a new, 4,300-square-foot clinic with an emergency room to the community. The Gabriola Health Care Society said the centre would enhance emergency care and help attract and keep doctors, meaning fewer trips to Nanaimo for minor medical reasons and reduced strain on the city's emergency room.

So far, $715,000 has been raised. The society expects to break ground this spring.

But Meadowcroft said there are many people on Gabriola Island who have questions surrounding the financial viability of the clinic, the re-zoning of land to accommodate it and whether it's even needed at all. She said about 100 pamphlets promoting the blog have been distributed across the community.

"It's about whether as a community we can actually support this, it's about whether as a community we actually need this," said Meadowcroft, who wouldn't state directly whether or not she supported the clinic.

"My goal is to get the truth out there so people can make informed decisions."

Meadowcroft thinks more research needs to be done on Gabriola's health care requirements and whether it would make more sense to invest in the Island's existing medical services instead.

Brenda Fowler, president of the Gabriola Health Care Foundation, said she's heard little criticism about the proposed clinic.

She said that the current clinic, located in rented space, was only meant to be a temporary.

"The whole strategy behind owning our own building is so we can control the rent so we can attract the doctor," she said, adding the need for the clinic has been well researched and a cost-analysis has been done.

"We will be able to create a work environment that is supportive, that has strong links with VIHA and young doctors will want to come and work here."

She pointed out that one in four Gabriola Island residents contributed funds to build the clinic.

"We have full confidence in the support that we have," she said.

© The Daily News (Nanaimo) 2010

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Medical clinic discussion needs to be about the property, not the clinic

Gabriola Sounder, Derek Kilbourn, derek@soundernews.comMonday, December 6 2010

Trustee Sheila Malcolmson reminded the Advisory Planning Commission members and the general public that the discussion the Trustees are having about the medical clinic property, “is not whether we support the medical clinic.”

This was prior to the APC starting its discussion on the draft bylaws to re-zone 4.1 acres of Forestry-zoned property on Church Street for the Gabriola Health Care Foundation to build a medical clinic,

Sheila explained that within the 150 emails that the trustees have received so far for the clinic application, there seems to be a confusion on whether this discussion is about if there is or is not a need for the clinic.

She said, “That is not the question that we are trying to decide. We have gotten more than enough public input on that issue.

“The question that we’re asking is do you support the bylaws?

“Do you support the location that is proposed?

“Do you support the uses which are allowed?”

Those bylaws being draft bylaw 260 and 261 to amend the Gabriola Official Community Plan and Land-Use Bylaw to create a clinic-specific zoning on the 4.1 acres of property donated to the Health Care Foundation on Church Street by Dr. Bob Rooks.

The land is currently part of an 80-acre parcel of Rooks’ land zoned as Forestry.

Sheila added the trustees, the APC members and the public need to be, “keeping in mind that we can’t promise as the Trust committee that it will be our friendly non-profit-on-the-island running it in the future.”

In previous meetings, Sheila has stressed that the Trustees can only zone what uses permitted on the property, they cannot zone who owns or uses the property.

The draft bylaws can be viewed by visiting the Gabriola section of the Islands Trust web site at or at the Trust offices on North Road.

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Principal and accessory uses for medical clinic lot shuffled by APC

Gabriola Sounder, Derek Kilbourn, derek@soundernews.comMonday, December 6 2010

The Gabriola Advisory Planning Commission has recommended the lot for the proposed medical clinic have Medical Office and Urgent Medical Care Facility as principal permitted uses.

Within those two principal uses would fall the medical laboratory to allow testing to be done on site by the resident doctors for their patients.

The APC was making recomendations on draft bylaws 260 and 261 of the Gabriola Local Trust Committee, which if carried forward will see 4.1 acres re-zoned as part of the process to build the community clinic as proposed by the Gabriola Health Care Foundation.

During its meeting last Wednesday night, the members of the APC recommended removing the accessory uses permitting an ambulance station and a helicopter landing pad.

Split-zoning to retain Forestry recommended

The other major recommendation to come forward from the Advisory Planning Commission was that instead of re-zoning the entire 4.1 acres of the lot where the clinic is proposed to go, the Local Trustees should instead split-zone the lot.

APC member Jacinthe Eastick pointed out the current application from the Gabriola Health Care Society only proposes using 12.5% of the lot. She said it may be better to have 15% of the lot being Institutional 4 (IN4), which is the zoning being created specifically for the Medical Clinic lot, and the other 85% of the lot be kept zoned as Forestry (the zoning which the parent parcel currently has.)

Jacinthe said, “Because we want to retain as much forestry zone as we could possibly keep, because they are the lungs of the island. They are not going to use it for medical purposes. 85% of the lot could remain forestry.”

Melanie Mamoser asked if there was a reason to justify removing the land from forestry zoning and turning it in to IN4.

Brenda Fowler, Health Care Society Chair, explained that the Society has done an extensive search for the right piece of property, at the right price.

“The thing that kept coming over and over again is being adjacent to the ambulance, fire hall and future helicopter pad. The presence of those items on Church Street makes this location far superior.”

Melanie said she understood that the location was perfect, but her concern was the re-zoning would, “remove land from forestry that was specifically in the Official Community Plan for recreational use and forestry.

“I want the community to say that is an appropriate use of that land.”

Nancy Crozier, APC member, said, “if you don’t count parks, the forestry cover [on Gabriola] is fairly minimal.

“We have two very small little parcels that are forestry and here we are chinking away, biting away.”

Prior to the APC members discussion on the draft bylaws for the clinic lot, Brenda requested that the medical office, where the doctors would see patients for regular medical care be made a principal use.

She said, “The current writing has urgent care as primary - the rest as accessory. This clinic is set up to have doctors offices who will staff the urgent care. In our view, the doctors’ office needs to be an equal view as the urgent. We really believe the office has to be a principle component of this.”

Ambulance Station potential removed

Jacinthe made the motion to recommend removing the ambulance station as an accessory use.

Carly McMahon, APC member, said, “As I understand it is not something the GHCS is planning on right now. I see to have this as accessory makes sense. Once the ambulance drops someone off, it just stays there after dropping the person off. It seems logical to have it as an accessory.

“I do think having it tucked together makes sense.”

Nancy disagreed saying, “once you drop someone off, the ambulance is no longer needed and it does require housing, repair, maintenance. It seems to me that’s something that isn’t medical. It goes home, to me getting it out of the way of the medical area makes sense.”

Brenda said, “the only additional piece of information we have is the provincial government is looking at how to improve coverage of first responders in rural areas.

“They are looking at ambulance staff and functions as being part of clinics. It is not inconceivable that staff and the ambulance station will be on-call, virtually assignable in any location and perhaps at our location in the future. They would be dispensed from our location.

“They are part of VIHA now, it is a shift we would like to be able to respond to in the near future.”

The APC voted in favour of removing the ambulance station as permitted accessory use, with Carly being the only member to vote against the motion.

Medical Laboratoryretained within medical office definition

In discussing the medical laboratory, Jacinthe said she had a problem with a second labratory being set up on the island when, “we have a perfectly functioning laboratory,” referring to the laboratory operating at the Professional Centre.

“I understand you want to have it all in one spot, but maybe you don’t want all your eggs in one basket.

“If we could say somehow that uses like the ambulance station and laboratory cannot occur unless the currently operating ones fold, I would be fine. But is there such a way to do that?”

Chris Jackson, Regional Planning Manager for the Trust Northern Office, said, “I would suggest the easiest way would be to not zone it, and re-zone when the existing one folds.”

Nancy said, “this is going to have an impact. There may be people who opt out and not stay in the professional building, take their acupuncture, massage therapy, they may move out. That will create empty units in the professional centre. Twin Beaches is not going to be used. The businesses that service the people in that location, waiting for their appointments. They go to the Bakery, they go to Harvest Thyme. We can minimize that.”

Carly asked if there was a laboratory functioning at the current Twin Beaches temporary medical clinic.

Brenda said, “it is a function that is happening there.

“It is not the full range, but a range of laboratory tests happen. Urine samples, blood testing. The nurse or doctor do the testing.

“It is part of the medical treatment they do.

“Those laboratory activities happen at the clinic currently. When we put the interim clinic in at Twin Beaches we had intended to be there for 18 months and we’ve now been there for four years. So yes, the people have gotten used to us.”

Chris said what could be done would be to write the laboratory uses in to the definition of “Medical Office” which would be a principal use of the lot.

Sheila pointed out that the current zoning for the professional centre does not include medical laboratory adding, “it just says medical and dental clinic. I’m not devaluing the service, but the lab is not in the definition.”

The APC voted unanimously in favour of recommending the laboratory be written in to the principal Medical Office use.

APC recommends removing helipad as accessory structure

The helicopter pad was another accessory use the APC voted should be removed as an accessory use for the lot.

Melanie asked for the reason a second helicopter pad is proposed when the Fire department is constructing one across the street.

Harvey Graham from the Health Care Foundation said the helicopter pad was being proposed as a use simply as a back-up in case the Fire Department cannot get their pad - going up behind the Fire Hall including night-time landing lights - built soon.

“If they build it, great, but if they don’t, we’d like to be able to build one.

“Talking with the Fire Chief, the federal government is getting upset with landings on Rollo - aviation authorities are getting concerned with the use of Rollo Park. That’s why they are taking down the trees at the Fire Hall.

“I don’t think this will ever happen but it is just in case.”

Nancy pointed out that one advantage to a helicopter is they are able to land, “pretty much anywhere.”

“If someone is on the south end and has a heart attack - there are places people can land. If someone is at Twin Beaches they can land there.

“It seems to me that if someone has to be evacuated there is no reason they should have to go from the clinic area, might be better to go direct from the scene.”

“Emergency uses are not going to come thick and fast and hopefully it won’t be needed as often.”

Melanie added, “they have a clear helicopter pad ready at the fire hall.”

Split-zoning may create issue when building permit process starts

Coming back to the idea of split zoning the lot, Carly said she had concerns that if the zoning was created, it may end up being too restrictive on what the Clinic planners would end up being able to build.

With her experience watching homes being built on Gabriola, she said too often she sees plans made up and then when builders go in to the lot, changes have to be made.

“How big is the septic - can we fit everything? So often we’re used to seeing that a septic is going to go here and then it moves.”

Brian Henning was present representing the applicant for the re-zoning, Dr. Bob Rooks.

Brian said, “that’s my concern - and to restrict it to .6 at this time, I don’t know if it can be done.

“Dr. Rooks is saying [to the Foundation] here’s 4 acres, get it re-zoned.

“If [the Trust] is going to limit the zone area at this time when we haven’t gotten in to the detail, design, the parking, there is a tremendous amount of work left.

“I would caution limiting the area.

Jacinthe said, “we are trying to limit it to minimize the forestry loss.”

Carly asked if there was some way, if the lot is split-zoned, to have the smaller IN4 zone ‘float’ until the applicant is able to say what parts of the lot are actually suitable to the plans.

Chris said during the hearing process, yes, but with the public hearing planned for February, but the second reading at that time, the different zones would need to be designated.

Nancy said, “if we want to pursue split-zoning it has to work.”

Carly said, “for me my concern is...trying to cram it in there. I don’t feel like I have the wherewithal to say 15% of 4 acres is fine.

“I think split-zoning is a great idea. I’m worried we’re making it very tight. The Trustees might decide to say 20/80.”

Melanie asked, if a development permit (DP) was not a viable option because a DP could not be used with institutional zoning, could the clinic-specific zoning instead be created from a very proscriptive commercial zoning.

This would then make a development permit possible, solving the issue of flexibility on the lot.

Chris said to do that, the wording would have to be very creative and use words like, “for-profit, non-profit.”

He and Jacinthe explained that as the Trustees have said before, the user of a lot cannot be zoned, only the use can be zoned.

Medical offices being provided to allow VIHA professionals working space

In discussing the definition of medical office, Jacinthe asked about the spaces designated as other offices within the uses.

Howard asked if these are offices which would be rented out to other medical professionals possibly, “cutting in to other people’s bsinesses.”

Melanie said, “it is part of medical care, as are social workers.”

Brenda added the offices would be for, “VIHA’s programming that takes place in the clinic, which includes these professions.

“It currently happens - the 200 patients involved in the wellness program see some of these services as well as some of the alternative services. They are now all considered viable.

Nancy said, “it was a support for people’s needs. [The professionals] come in, use the space and go home.”

Brenda referenced the recent wellness survey done by the Societies data and research team.

“One of the items in the survey work that was done highlighted the [lack of] mental health services. One of the future meetings with VIHA will be about mental health programming. Right now it is limited, sporadic at best.”

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No changes to urgent treatment funding: VIHA

Flying Shingle, Monday, December 6, 2010

There will be no change in the kind of funding the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) provides for an “urgent treatment room” once a permanent community clinic is built, according to VIHA Communications Director Shannon Marshall.

Marshall, who responded last week to a number of questions from The Shingle added: “… it’s important to understand that (the clinic has) an urgent treatment room NOT an urgent care center or emergency room. (The urgent treatment room) provides services consistent with those that can be provided in any GPs office but because supplies for sutures, wound care etc. are expensive we are helping to underwrite those costs”.

Marshall said: “Emergency care is required in a situation that poses an immediate risk to health or life. The emergency department is a hospital department that provides initial treatment to patients with a broad spectrum of illnesses and injuries, some of which may be life-threatening and requiring immediate attention”.

“Urgent care”, Marshall said, “provides response to an illness or injury that will not cause further disability or death if not treated immediately but requires professional attention to prevent it from developing into a greater threat”.

At the Advisory Planning Commission meeting at the Community Hall on Wednesday, Gabriola Health Care Society (GHCS) President Brenda Fowler further clarified the differences saying that very specific definitions attach to those words. “… so for instance”, she said, “when you go to an emergency room in a hospital you’ve got very sophisticated equipment … and you have trained staff onsite who know how to work the machines and are delivering the responses, and coverage is 24/7”. She said VIHA and GHCS are “very clear” with each other “we will never have an emergency room. We cannot with our population ever support an emergency room”.

Marshall said that doctors are responsible for their own patients 24/7, but they are not responsible for dealing with medical emergencies for people who are not their patients. She said the Medical On Call Availability Program (MOCAP), which the on-call doctors on Gabriola receive, provides a stipend to physicians “for being available to provide urgent/emergent care for new patients, or those who do not have a (doctor)”.

The on-call doctors on Gabriola “participate in a level 2 MOCAP”, Marshall said. According the MOCAP Policy Framework (2001) this requires “… availability by telephone within 15 minutes, and available to be on-site within two hours”, and pays “$165,000 per annum for 24/7/52 coverage”.

Marshall said VIHA also funds the members of the Integrated Health Network team. She said the team “… works with 29 physician practices, including both practices on Gabriola. The team is comprised of a nurse, a dietitian, a social worker and a medical office assistant. The team comes to the island once every two weeks to work with patients who live with multiple chronic conditions”.

Marshall said the medical supplies VIHA provides for the urgent treatment room cost about $6,000 per year. The Integrated Health Network “has been provided through a one year contract with GHCS that totals $12,000 per year”, she said.

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‘Split-zoning’ recommended for clinic lands

Flying Shingle, Monday, December 6, 2010

In an attempt to lose as little Forestry zoned land as possible, the Advisory Planning Commission (APC), has recommended that the Local Trust Committee (LTC) create a “split zone” for a proposed community medical clinic and three-bed urgent treatment room.

At their meeting in the Community Hall on Wednesday, APC members suggested that 15 per cent of the proposed 4.1 acre lot, be zoned Institutional 4 (IN4), and the remainder remain Forestry. In explaining her reasoning, Commissioner Jacinthe Eastick, who proposed the split zoning, noted that the application shows that only 12.5 per cent of the lot is proposed for development.

Commissioner Nancy Crozier added that there is very little Forest zoned land left on Gabriola that is not parkland.

Commissioner Carly McMahon wondered if the smaller size would impact set-backs, and other requirements. Proponent Brian Henning said that the plans for the positioning of the building were preliminary, and limiting the zoning area might impact the building and any expansions the clinic might need to make in the future. Eastick said that the 15 per cent was just a recommendation, and trustees could agree to a different limit if they wished.

As previously reported, proponents have asked to sever the lot, donated by Dr. Bob Rooks, from an 80 acre Forestry zoned parcel. Planners have recommended site-specific zoning for the lot.

The clinic will be built mostly from community donations raised by the Gabriola Health Care Society (GHCS), and will house the doctors currently operating out of the Twin Beaches clinic.

Regional Planning Manager Chris Jackson said that the subdivision of the clinic lot would occur in two stages; first rezoning, and then subdividing off, the new lot from the parent lot. The title of the new lot would not be transferred to the Gabriola Health Care foundation until after the subdivision is completed.

Planner Kaitlin Kazmierowski said Friday that the process of subdivision is shared with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI). She said the process can take some time. Kazmierowski was unsure of whether trustees can put the final step of a rezoning on hold until the subdivision is approved.

At the Nov. 25 LTC meeting, Jackson proposed dealing with community concerns that the clinic not be sold to private owners, or that the urgent treatment component of the clinic not be lost, by making the primary care component of the clinic an “accessory use” of the urgent treatment room. He said this would mean that the primary care medical clinic would not be able to operate unless the urgent treatment facility was also in operation.

At Wednesday’s APC meeting Commissioner Jenny MacLeod thought that both the primary and urgent treatment components of the clinic should be principle uses. Crozier thought the primary care medical office component of the clinic should be the principle use.

Eastick repeated Jackson’s point that if both are zoned as principle uses, the urgent care treatment room will not be required as long as the primary care medical office is in operation. She said the community wants to ensure that the urgent treatment room is always there.

GHCS President Brenda Fowler said the society has also been struggling with this issue. She suggested “that it be the two uses on one line with the word ‘and’ - so that one principle use is ‘urgent care’ and ‘medical office’ and we use the word ‘and’ to join those two. That is our intent, and we have no difficulty with that because it reflects the reality”. APC members agreed to this suggestion.

Commissioners discussed having an ambulance station and helicopter pad as accessory uses. They agreed that both those services are, or will be, provided at other locations. They said if there are any changes that the society could apply for rezoning in the future.

In discussing a medical lab as a proposed accessory use, Eastick said that there is already a “perfectly functioning medical lab” in the community. She said she would be willing to allow a lab in the new clinic if the other lab ceased operating. Fowler said the Twin Beaches clinic already has a lab, but it does not provide the same range of services as those at the Gabriola Professional Centre (GPC). She said labs are necessary to run a medical clinic.

Crozier said that the relocation of the Twin Beaches clinic to Church Street could impact both Twin Beaches businesses and the GPC. Fowler said that the society had originally thought the clinic would only be at Twin Beaches for 18 months, but it had actually been four years. She acknowledged that moving the clinic will impact the shopping centre.

Commissioners asked Jackson to include the use of a medical lab that ties the lab into the operation of the clinic in the definition of “medical offices”.

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Bylaws cannot dictate ownership of clinic

Flying Shingle, Monday, November 29, 2010

Trustees Sheila Malcolmson (left) and Deborah Ferens get the meeting underway. ~ Photo by Chris Bowers

Zoning bylaws cannot ensure that a community medical clinic and three-bed emergency treatment room will not be sold to private interests, so the community must be okay with the uses allowed there regardless of whom owns it, says Islands Trust Regional Planning Manager Chris Jackson.

Jackson was responding to a question about clinic ownership at a Nov. 22 Community Information Meeting at the WI Hall. Trustee Sheila Malcolmson added that zoning bylaws aren’t allowed “to say who’s allowed to conduct the activity, and that’s why it’s really important to make sure we’re comfortable with the uses allowed in the zoning …”.

Responding to a question about ongoing funding, Gabriola Health Care Society (GHCS) President Brenda Fowler said that the clinic’s operating costs will be covered through rent from the doctors. GHCS Auxiliary Chair Nancy Nevison added that Village Foods and Mid-Island Co-op have already put customer patronage programs in place that could provide an ongoing income of between $10,000 and $20,000 each towards the maintenance of the clinic.

GHCS member Judith Madsen said the clinic will be owned by all Gabriolans, and most of the money raised to build it has come from the community.

As previously reported the society has asked to rezone 4.1 acres at the north end of Church Street from Forestry to Institutional. GHCS intends to build the clinic for the doctors currently located at Twin Beaches mall. The land for the clinic has been donated by Dr. Bob Rooks. GHCS aims to raise $1 million to build the facility.

Jackson said a “brand new zone” – Institutional 4 – is being proposed for the new lot. He said the clinic property would be severed from an 80 acre parcel currently zoned Forestry. The parent lot would be allowed one residential density and one cottage dwelling, he said, and would lose one of four potential density transfers currently attached to it. He said Rooks was aware that this was so. He said no residential use would be allowed on the clinic’s lot.

The proposed uses of the lot, Jackson said, are a medical office, a medical laboratory, an urgent care medical clinic, and the accessory use of an ambulance station. He said a helicopter pad would also be allowed on the site.

The proposed definition for “Medical office”, Jackson said, was “an establishment where patients are admitted for examination and treatment on an outpatient basis by one or more physicians, psychologists, social workers, medical personnel, or other health care professionals, where patients are not lodged overnight except in an emergency and may include space for related admin. services and meetings, treatment meetings, and offices for health related government bodies”.

Asked if “alternative” medical services would be allowed, Jackson said they would be included as “other health care professionals”.

Asked why the lot to be severed is four acres, proponent Brian Henning said Rooks wanted to ensure the site was large enough for all the uses needed.

Meeting attendee Nick Doe noted that the rezoning would fragment Forest-zoned land. He said: “To me this is against the principles of the Islands Trust”. He said the way the application has been handled was not respectful of the Islands Trust mandate, because the land has already been cleared and roads have been run into it regardless of what the Local Trust Committee (LTC) decides.

Another meeting attendee noted that the current zoning entitles the owner to do all these things. Madsen said that Rooks did not clear-cut, or put the roads on, that land. Fowler said that the society had looked at a number of properties and Rooks’ land best met the needs of the clinic because it was large enough for future needs, close to other emergency services and the Village, and was donated for free. She said the society looked for property for over two years. She said the society had decided that the benefits of the property outweighed the disadvantages.

Doe said the discussion should be about the land use. He said whether the clinic was needed or popular or whether the property was free should play no role in the discussion. Fowler said all of the potential properties the society looked at would have required rezoning and change of the land use.

Former Advisory Planning Commissioner Stewart Denholm said he shared Doe’s concerns and wanted the LTC “to keep in mind the awesome and brutal struggle that Galiano Island went through to protect their forest land from development”.

Gabriolan John Campbell said that “over 75 men and one woman” had volunteered their labour or machinery to build the clinic. He thought that would provide all the labour needed. He said he’d “never had one no” from all the people he’d asked to help.

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Medical Clinic re-zoning drafted to reflect service for Gabriola Local Trust Area

Gabriola Sounder, Derek Kilbourn, Tuesday, November 29, 2010

Under the current wording, the Gabriola Medical Clinic zoning, known as Institutional Four, will have urgent medical care facility as its primary permitted use.

Permitted accessory uses would be an ambulance station, medical office and medical laboratory.

Chris Jackson, Regional Planning Manager, said this was done to ensure that the zoning requires there be urgent medical care capacity offered in order for any of the other uses to be permitted.

Much like a home-based business requires one of the business owners to occupy the home that the business is run out of, in order for the medical laboratory, medical offices or ambulance to operate out of the property being re-zoned, there needs to be an urgent medical care facility in operation.

Brenda Fowler, Gabriola Health Care Society (GHCS) President, said she had concerns with moving the medical office into the accessory uses section.

“One of the principle uses is the medical office. We have 3,000 patients in the [Twin Beaches temporary] medical office; we have patients every day coming in. It is a primary function so I would certainly want to see that moved up.

“We consider the emergency component to be critical. One of the reasons why the community is behind this is because the two are wedded so that both are being provided under one roof.”

Chris explained having the medical office as accessory would not prevent the operation of the day to day health clinic practice.

Trustee Sheila Malcolmson pointed out that previously this year, when the Commons property was going through the re-zoning process, the issue of principle and accessory also came up. An information note was included within the Commons bylaw amendments to further describe the purpose behind the uses and why they were listed under the different headings.

Sheila said, “I don’t have a problem in that it’s showing the community how this is done, but I want to be more clear.”

Brenda said as long as the urgent medical care facility has urgent care capacity, rather than actual coverage, “we don’t have an issue with it being in the accessory, but we have to look at worst case scenario. Say in eight years we don’t have a doctor willing to work emergency coverage and we have a temporary period of time when we are without a 24-hour coverage.

“That wouldn’t be unusual in a rural area to experience that in the history of a clinic. Should that happen, there would be 3,000 patients unable to visit a family doctor because we couldn’t provide that emergency coverage. As long as it is [urgent care] capacity, I’m not worried; the building will have that capacity. Whether we will have the human resource capacity is another question. I would hate to be the one responsible for that mess.”

The other major change that has been made prior to the draft bylaws going to the Advisory Planning Commission this Wednesday is the inclusion of the wording that the clinic, under any ownership, “serves the need of the Gabriola Local Trust Area.”

Asked by Harvey Graham, Health Care Society Treasurer, if that meant visitors to Gabriola were included, Chris said they would be.

Chris said, “In terms of residents – where it says it serves the need of the Trust Area – not just the residents, but the Gabriola area, the tourists and visitors can definitely use them, but no one is operating a medical resort.”

The concerns Chris has heard are “[the public] are asking what if it gets sold. What if it becomes a place where people come to get an operation done, for example cosmetic surgery.

“So what we’re saying here is not non-profit. This is not an establishment where people come to get treatment; this is for the community.”

Harvey asked if people who currently come from Nanaimo to see doctors at the clinic would still be able to.

Chris could not give a definitive yes or no.

Trustee Sheila Malcolmson reminded the public the bylaw amendments are still in draft form and are open to change, before the amendments move in to the formal public process.

At both the LTC meeting on Thursday and the Community Information Meeting (CIM) held Monday night, it was stressed that comments written and addressed to the LTC bear more weight than phone calls or discussions in the parking lot.

Emails do have the same weight as letters sent in regarding bylaw amendments.

At the CIM, staff and trustees were asked if there is any provision to prevent the sale of the lot to private users in the future.

Chris said, “No, this would be a land-use zone put in place that could change hands just like someone buying a house.

“Right now it is a non-profit. In the future it could be a transaction. That’s where the actual use becomes important, to make sure that use is there so that it doesn’t matter who owns it, to make it as narrow and as flexible as possible.

Sheila added, “Zoning isn’t allowed to say who’s allowed to conduct the activity, that’s why we have to be comfortable with what is allowed in the zoning because we can’t control who owns it.”

The question was asked of how much of the funding for the clinic comes from drug companies or suppliers.

Brenda answered, “This was a concern to the board, receiving funds from drug companies or suppliers for donations. We took a strong look at that and said we would not canvass those types of funds. We have sent out several hundred letters asking for support, but most of the funding raised was raised locally.

Sheila asked the Trust staff, “How does the funding of the possible project fit with the zoning decision?

Chris said, “It has no effect on the zoning itself.”

Staff and GHCS members present were asked if it was considered to purchase the current location of the temporary clinic at Twin Beaches, and if there was a reason for not making the permanent site there.

Brenda said, “We can’t afford to buy a piece of property and certainly that piece wasn’t for sale at the time.”

A follow-up question was, “This clinic is going to be maintained financially – how will this come about?”

Brenda said, “It will be rented to the doctors so it will be self-sustaining – the rent will cover the operating costs. It won’t be on the tax base.

Sheila stressed that as far as the “issue of ownership and funding [is concerned], we can’t lock in either of those issues.” Neither issue can be controlled or affect the land-use bylaw.

The re-zoning draft bylaw will be going to the Advisory Planning Commission on Wednesday, Dec. 1 at the Community Hall this week, with the meeting starting at 7 p.m.

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Clinic bylaws drafted

Flying Shingle, Monday, November 22, 2010

A permanent, community-owned, medical clinic that will include a three bed Emergency Treatment Room (ETR) moved one step closer to reality Nov. 15, when the Local Trust Committee (LTC) drafted bylaws to rezone the land on which it may sit.

As previously reported the Gabriola Health Care Society (GHCS) has asked to rezone 4.1 acres at the north end of Church Street from Forestry to Institutional.

At a special meeting at the WI Hall, the LTC drafted bylaws that would make the institutional uses of the lot “site-specific”, and restricted them to a medical office, a medical laboratory, an urgent care medical clinic, and accessory use of an ambulance station. They also resolved that the lot be developed following “Institutional 3” regulations for lot coverage, height, and setbacks, and that further subdivision of the lot not be allowed.

As previously reported, the GHCS intends to build the clinic for the doctors currently located at Twin Beaches mall. The land for the clinic has been donated by Dr. Bob Rooks. GHCS aims to raise $1 million to build the facility.

In outlining the application Planner Kaitlin Kazmierowski said that there are “no real issues (or) … red flags” in the proposals for setbacks, water and sewage. She said a water catchment system is being planned for the facility that should be able to provide for the clinic year round even if there is no groundwater. Trustee Sheila Malcolmson noted that the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) makes decisions about water systems and has not completely come on board about harvesting rain water. John Peirce, the Gabriola Representative for The Rainwater Connection - a rainwater harvesting company - said he is working with the health society around rainwater collection issues. He said he had talked to VIHA and “saw no signs of yellow flags in that discussion”.

Kazmierowski said the society had provided answers to a number of questions raised by the LTC at their last meeting. She said that 10 per cent of the lot would be used for parking and access, buildings would use two per cent of the lot, and sewage disposal would take up one half per cent.

She said greenhouse gas emissions reductions would be addressed through heating the building with electricity, using energy efficient materials and appliances, and reduced transportation needs through having a centralised location and being able to treat more medical emergencies on the island. She said there was also a discussion in the application about how medical and other wastes would be dealt with so as to minimise impact on the environment.

As for landscaping, Kazmierowski said, the applicant plans to have natural and drought tolerant plants, and will have pathways onsite for bicycles and pedestrians. She also said GHCS had supplied a letter from VIHA confirming that they will provide basic supplies for an urgent care room in a temporary facility, with the possibility of additional equipment once the facility is permanent.

Malcolmson said that the community wants the uses for the clinic to be “narrow”. She wanted the zoning to be “nicely fine-tuned so it’s very site-specific”, and accommodates the required uses without creating “a chunk of institutional zoning which I personally don’t think we need”.

GHCS President Brenda Fowler said that some community members had asked if the clinic would have any provisions for palliative care. After some discussion about how this additional use might be added to the application, LTC Chair Louise Bell said that as the committee had not received anything in writing on this issue it should focus on the application as it had been presented to them.

Fowler said the next day that the society had decided against asking for the palliative care use for now.

Also discussed was the need for meeting rooms for ongoing treatment with groups of patients and families, and for offices for VIHA and other health care professionals to use. Trustees decided those uses would be added to the definition of “Medical Office”.

Bell asked that “regular medical care” be added to the definition of urgent care medical clinic.

Trustee Deborah Ferens said she would like the community to have a chance to comment on the fact that the land is coming out of a forestry zoning designation.

After drafting the new bylaws, Malcolmson clarified that “this is the Trust committee trying to encapsulate what the applicants are asking for and going to the community to say ‘what do you think about it’? It doesn’t mean that this is how the Trust committee going to vote. It doesn’t mean the Trust committee is proposing this”. She said also noted that as a draft bylaw it can be changed.

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Capacity crowd honours Dr. Verne Smith at retirement dinner

Flying Shingle, Monday, November 22, 2010

Dr. Verne Smith (centre) receives one of two standing ovations at a retirement dinner organised by the Gabriola Health Care Society. ~ Photo by Chris Bowers

The Community Hall on South Road was filled to capacity Wednesday as Gabriolans turned out to say thank-you and goodbye at a retirement dinner for Dr. Verne Smith.

Dr. Francois Bosman, who spoke about Smith’s career, said Smith has worked at the medical clinic currently at Twin Beaches since 1995. Bosman said Smith graduated in 1958, worked in a number of locations from Northern BC to North Vancouver, and had a general practice that included everything from delivering babies to dental work.

Noting that Smith has been well-loved and respected wherever he went, Bosman, on behalf of himself and Dr. Tracie Thorne thanked Smith for “setting a standard we can aspire to”.

Smith thanked everyone at the Twin Beaches clinic for their hard work and dedication, and the Gabriola Health Care Society (GHCS) for taking up the cause of the new clinic. He also thanked his wife, Karen Cain, who he said he loved very much, “for putting up with my obsession with medicine for all these years”.

Among those who thanked Smith for his service to the community, MC Tawny Maclachlan Capon shared thanks from Gabriolans who were not at the dinner.

Speaking to the effectiveness of emergency response on Gabriola, Maclachlan Capon also told a short story about how community members and services responded recently when Gabriolan Anne Van Kessel had a heart attack at Folklife Village. She said doctors in Victoria said “the only reason (Anne) is alive is because of the community response”.

Donations towards the medical clinic were presented at the dinner by Tracie and William Der, formerly of Gabriola, who donated $25,000, and by Lions President Mike Phillips, who presented a cheque for $6,000 for equipment. Phillips said the cheque brought total Lions’ donations for the clinic to $78,500.

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$25,000 donation at annual doctors appreciation night

Gabriola Sounder, Derek Kilbourn, Tuesday, November 22, 2010

Last Wednesday night, the Gabriola Health Care Auxiliary held its annual Doctors’ Appreciation Dinner, with 200 happy diners packing in to the Community Hall.

The evening was dedicated to honouring Dr. Verne Smith, who is retiring this year from his practice at the temporary medical clinic at Twin Beaches Mall.

The annual dinner also marked one year since the Auxiliary had declared 2010 to be the Year of the Clinic, a year in which one million dollars would be raised to build a community Medical Clinic.

To date, at least at the start of the evening, $641,000 had been raised towards that goal.

Brenda Fowler, President of the Gabriola Health Care Society, said, “That is remarkable for a year’s work. I also understand the evening is still young.”

Also since the 2009 dinner, a site for the clinic has been donated by Dr. Bob Rooks and numerous trades and professionals have come forward to donate labour towards the raising of the clinic.

At the dinner, two significant donors came forward.

First up was Mike Phillips, current President of the Gabriola Lions Club.

Mike said, “We’d like to thank Verne for all your service. We’ve all seen you once and those of us accident prone have seen you more than once.

“On behalf of the Lions, I would like to give a cheque for $6,000 for equipment. This will be for the new clinic and brings the Lions support for health $78,500 so far. This money comes from gaming money. One of our sources of income is a contract with the gaming people. The government has honoured that contract, we are finishing the end of the three year contract and I think we’ll be renewed going forward. This $6,000 actually comes from the government of British Columbia. It is important when you are speaking to anybody in government that you know, tell them that when they make this sort of money available it’s going to places that really give them the courage to keep moving forward and restoring programs and getting the money back to levels where it belongs.”

The surprise of the evening definetly belonged to Tracie and William Der of Island Apothecary, former owners of the Gabriola Pharmacy.

Tracie said, “Boy is it nice to be back to see all your smiling faces. As you know Will and I have been quite committed to this cause from the get go. Despite the fact we’ve moved off the island and we’re on to other things in our lives we’re still quite committed to seeing this through to completion.

“So we’re here tonight with a donation of $25,000. We only have on small request, we’re hoping you’ll name the medicine cabinet after us.”

The two former Gabriolans received a very boisterous standing ovation from those present.

Evening emcee Tawny Capon read a letter she had received from Anne Van Kessel, who had asked it be read at the dinner.

“Just a few weeks ago Anne collapsed in the Village. In due course, between the first responders, the ambulance, the doctors at the doctors office and BC Helicopter crew she was taken in the time limit it takes when you have a heart attack to the hospital in Victoria.”

Breaking down in tears, Tawny finished reading Anne’s letter, saying, “the doctors there said the only reason she is alive is because of this community.

“Thank you.”

Brenda filled everyone in on some of the more recent news about the Health Care Society.

“We have a plan, we’re working the plan, we’re changing the plan and we’re working the plan.

“When we started last year our goal was to raise one million dollars.

“The re-zoning process of the 4.1 acres donated by Dr. Rooks has started.

“Gordie McDonald has been up at the site preparing the site. Windecker and John Peirce of Rainwater Collection have been up and confirmed there is plenty of water.

Brenda said, “if any of you, would like to be there at Nov. 22nd for the first Community Information Meeting, you can come or simply write your local trustee a letter about your support for doing this re-zoning quickly.

“We are very confident and hopefuly that we will begin construction in April of next year and that we have this dinner next year in the afternoon and we have hot dogs and vegetarian hot dogs and we’ll be able to walk through the building, where the offices will be and so on and so forth.

“The dinner will be there next year, we might have it earlier so it isn’t so cold and isn’t raining.

“What fun we’re having. Thank you very much.”

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Site-specific Institutional zoning drafted for clinic

Gabriola Sounder, Derek Kilbourn, Tuesday, November 22, 2010

The Gabriola Local Trust Committee will be seeking the public’s input tonight on the re-zoning of the land proposed as the site for the new Community Medical Clinic.

At the LTC special meeting one week ago, Trust staff recommended the LTC re-zone the property to a site-specific sub-version of Institutional 3 (IN3) to be called IN3a.

Chris Jackson, Regional Planning Director said what this would mean is the standard IN3 bylaw requirements, such as setbacks, height, lot coverage would apply, but the LTC could then restrict the lot’s zoning to uses under IN3 which specifically met the needs of what is proposed for the medical clinic.

Trustee Sheila Malcolmson asked if there was some way to keep the clinic property from being further sub-divided. Current IN3 bylaws could permit the 4.1 acre lot to be split in to two separate lots.

Chris said that could be part of the site-specific IN3a wording, such that lots zoned as IN3a would not be able to subdivide smaller than 4.1 acres.

Trustee Sheila Malcolmson made a motion to draft amendments to the Gabriola LUB to insert a new site specific zone for the Clinic parcel. The new IN3a zoning would restricts the lot uses to Medical Office, Medical Labratory, Urgent Care Medical Clinic, and accessory use of ambulance station. It would mirror standard land use bylaw IN3 regulations on lot coverage, height and set backs, and prevents further subdivision of the new 1.7 ha lot.

Currently there is no definition of “Medical Office” within the LUB but staff were instructed to draft a definition for tonight’s Community Information Meeting. The use is proposed for inclusion in IN3a as the Medical Clinic may want/need to allow offices for Vancouver Island Health Authority. The concern for the Trustees was that permitting the standard IN3 use for ‘government offices’ would open the door for any provincial ministry to use the space, so restricting it to being a ‘medical office’ would keep it to uses within the scope of the proposed building.

There was no discussion on any kind of restrictions or changes to be made to the parent parcel of the clinic land, still privately owned and zoned forestry.

After making the motion, Sheila added, “this often gets misunderstood in the community when we start to draft bylaw language.

“This is the Trust Committee trying to encapsulate what the applicant is asking for and going to the community to say what do you think about it.

“This does not mean that this is how the Trust committee is going to vote or that the Trust Committee is proposing this. It is also a draft bylaw - if there is something we haven’t captured, the applicant can work with the planner to make sure the specific needs are reflected in here.”

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Dr. Verne Smith retires

Gabriola Sounder, Derek Kilbourn, Tuesday, November 22, 2010

This past Wednesday night, members of the Gabriola community gathered for the annual Doctors’ Appreciation Dinner and this year celebrated the career of Dr. Verne Smith, who is retiring from his practice.

Dr. Francois Bosman, who works at the temporary Gabriola Medical Clinic with Dr. Smith, spoke about the career of Dr. Smith.

“Verne graduated from medical school in 1958, he had joined the air force during his time and was assigned to a small air force base on the north-west coast of Vancouver Island following his internship.

“He was the only doctor in an isolated community accessible only by sea or air. For two years he served as the local doctor.”

“The air force dentist came up about once a month so Verne added that to his list of skills, learning how to do extractions and temporary fittings.

“From there he went to Sea Island where he worked with the medivac team in the last years of the polio epidemic. Flying people on respirators to Vancouver, dealing with the elevation change and keeping people ventilated were trying times.

“After a short stint of further training in Halifax Verne moved to North Vancouver where he practiced from 1964 to 1992.

“I hear his patients openly wept when he left the practice.

“His practice there included obstetrics, surgery and emergency work, which today is described as full service medicine, or the good old general practice. Which seems to be a dying breed.

“Following this he volunteered in New Mexico for nine months then moved back to BC, working in Bella Bella, Bella Coola and New Hazelton until moving to Gabriola in 1995 where he has practiced here ever since.

“What a pleasure and a privilege it has been to get to know and work here with Verne. He loves to listen to a patient, put his hands on and examine a patient and then develop a plan and a treatment. His expertise, compassionate care with a great sense of humour I know have touched many individuals and their families.

“I’ve gotten to know Verne and Karen over the last three and a half years. Their mutual love and respect for each other and their children I have been privileged to see and it is tangible. There is so much more about this man that there is to appreciate and admire.

“A boat builder, a sailor, exploring as far as the Charlottes and an award winning wood worker.

“I’d like to thank Verne for setting a standard that us as young doctors can aspire to and above all for being such a beautiful human being. It is only on such a good foundation that one can build a great building.

“Thank you Verne.”

After a standing ovation followed Dr. Bosman’s speech, Dr. Smith then came up and spoke to the audience.

Joking at first, he said, “I must say I saw the writing on the wall when they moved me down to the back office and gave me the roll of duct tape to continually fix my table.

“Not only that but they were lowering my chair so that if I didn’t watch it and sat in it after being off for a week or two I had to get a patient to help me back out of it.”

He then said, “But I have to say the past few years have been great. The clinic has worked really well and it has been fun to work there and it is due to the staff, the room we have, the equipment and it has been great.

“I have to thank the staff. There is Janice who I have worked with for 15 years now through some tough times. Some iffy times even for the clinic.

“There is Anita who is the first face you see when you walk in and there is Cheryl who co-hosts the Saturday morning walk-in clinic/town hall meeting and has for many years.

“And my colleagues, [Nurse Practitioner] Kay Holt who has taken over the chronic care and complex patients to some degree.

“And then there are [fellow doctors] Tracey and Francois who have done such a wonderful job of taking up the emergency call and are great colleagues and fun to work with.

“The Gabriola Heatlh Care Society who have made this all possible. I thank them all and I thank you for being here.

“I thank my wife for putting up with all this for all these years, my obsession with medicine and I love her very much.

He concluded with, “Thank you,” as the audience again stood up to applaud him.

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GHCS Wellness Survey results released -- 75% of Gabriolans ‘satisfied’ with life on island

Gabriola Sounder, Derek Kilbourn, Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Data and Services Committee of the Gabriola Health Care Society has released the preliminary results of the Wellness Survey. Turns out, Gabriolas are very satisfied with their life on the island.

Dave Innell, Chair of the Data and Services Committee said, “Overall, the survey indicated that Gabriolans are very satisfied with their life (over 75 per cent rated as 7 or better). This is a higher rate of satisfaction than the national average or the recent Victoria Wellbeing Survey.

“Family and friends appear to be very important and they find the community trustwothy and supportive. Gabriolans indicated that pleasure/play and community service are more important than material wealth.

“The survey shows that more females than males responded to the survey and the proportion of retired folks was a bit higher than the last census. Our technical support people tell us this is a typical bias in surveys of this nature.

“The results of the survey are being posted on the GHCS website and we hope that it will result in a community conversation about the results. We are planning to do a more detailed analysis of the narrative responses in the survey.”

Asked if there was anything else that stood out to him from the survey results, Dave said he found it curious that one of the highest scoring aspects of life on Gabriola, that of community, also tied with the ferry as one of the least liked aspects of Gabriola.

“We’re going to delve in to this more. What’s behind this? There was certainly a strong response – that people in community was something respondents didn’t like about the island.”

Throughout the preliminary report, there are references to individual comments in the appendices, but the appendices were not released to the public as part of the preliminary report. Dave said there were quite a few of the individual comments made which would clearly identify who the respondent was. Part of the promise when the survey was done was that people’s identities would be kept secret.

Dave said that where possible, the Data and Services Committee has themed the comments and “we are trying to do more detailed analysis of these – we’re doing more work to tease out of those the subthemes that might be a little more interesting.

“We have talked to some people about having a community conversation around this. The Health Care Society is hoping there is an opportunity around the results and what people feel about certain things.”

VIHA has not yet formally responded to the results, but Dave said Mike Pennock, with the office of the Chief Medical Health Officer thought the results were good. “He thought we had good results, which showed Gabriolans are more satisfied with their lives than those in Victoria and the national average.

“Fewer people smoke than the national average.”

In terms of how the study is related to the proposed clinic, Dave said, “The study had nothing to do with the proposed clinic, it was just the same community group doing it.

“I think it was interesting that 76 per cent of the people who have a regular doctor are on the island.

“They are using a lot of the alternative services, medical lab, the dentist on the island.

“This will help make the case with VIHA that people are using the services on the island and that the major issue people have is not cost, it is putting that appointment in with the ferry schedule.

“It helps make the case that these services are on the island and there is a value to having that clinic.

“That’s the relationship with the survey and the clinic; it helps support the case of having the clinic here.”

Highlights of the Wellness Survey Results

Total of 418 surveys returned

266 women respondents, 152 men

Largest age group: 61-70 (38.5%)

Education: Masters/PhD (29%) and Undergrad (28.5%)

Household numbers: 64.5% are living with partner, no children

88% of respondents own their own home

72.5% of respondents live on Gabriola 12 months of the year.

What people ‘most liked’ about Gabriola: Friends/Community

What people least liked about Gabriola: People/Community and Ferry

54% of respondents volunteer 1 to 10 hours a month.

Employment status: Employed-on-Gabriola plus Retired-on-Gabriola combine for 80.1% (18.4% and 62.1% respectively)

Over 50% of the households have a yearly income

between $25,000 and $75,000

68% of respondents have a garden or allotment-garden to produce food.

Half of respondents felt Cultural and Educational activity needs are ‘partially met’ on Gabriola.

90% of respondents use Gabriola’s parks and trails once a month, over 60% do so at least once a week.

9% said they always walk, cycle or use electric scooter rather than drive.

76% of those who said they have a regular doctor have a doctor who practices on Gabriola

Cost of ferry services and Schedule appointments to fit ferry schedule easily top the list for transportation concerns in accessing off-island health care.

28% of respondents drink 1-3 alcoholic beverages daily.

25% of respondents drink 1-3 alcoholic beverages less than once a week.

90% of respondents do not smoke

16% of respondents answered yes to using recreational drugs

3% of respondents answered yes to using marijuana daily for recreational use.

4 respondents said yes to using crystal meth, 6 to using heroin and 6 to using extacy - all under the ‘less than once a month’ category.

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Clinic Application moved to the front of the line

Gabriola Sounder, Derek Kilbourn, Monday, October 25, 2010

The Gabriola Local Trust Committee has put the Gabriola Health Care Foundation’s application for re-zoning at the top of the priority list, with a motion made and passed at the latest LTC meeting.

This means that in conjunction with the Official Community Plan review, the health care clinic will receive top priority for trust staff’s time.

The LTC has also decided to sponsor the GHCF’s application for re-zoning of the proposed clinic site, covering half of the application fees, a donation value of $2,250. The fees will be taken from the LTC’s local expense account.

Representatives from the Gabriola Health Care Foundation, Society and Auxiliary groups, as well as other organizations who have supported the clinic efforts, were in attendance on Thursday last week to request the LTC make the clinic application a top priority.

While those present were happy to hear the application would be getting top priority, Trustee Sheila Malcolmson cautioned the supporters to “be ready, there are going to be things said about our collective dream, and we are going to have our skeptical hats on.”

She explained it is the duty of the local trustees to consider not just the present user, but also any potential future users of the property when doing a re-zoning.

“[This] isn’t a criticism of your work but our duty to consider 20 years down the road, such as the worst case scenario if there is a for-profit cosmetic clinic on that site.

“It is of benefit to us as trustees to hear the negative feedback. Don’t take it personally, it’ll be over soon.”

Brenda Fowler, Health Care Society Chair, made a presentation to the trustees prior to their discussion, explaining the work that has been done in the past year to get to the current stage of events, including the donation of the 4.1 acres of property from Dr. Bob Rooks which is to be re-zoned.

Brenda acknowledged concerns from the public that somehow the re-zoning of the land, donated by Dr. Bob Rooks, would only be donated if Dr. Rooks’s other goals for the rest of the parent property could be achieved.

She said, “There are no strings attached. In fact from our perspective the deal is off if there are any conditions on the gift.”

Brenda, as well as other presenters including Mike Phillips from the Gabriola Lions and Tawny Capon from the Gabriola Ambulance Society, stressed the importance of getting the clinic built sooner rather than later. This would take stress off the two doctors who currently serve in the temporary clinic as both regular practioners and 24-hour on-call emergency doctors.

Recruitment is under way for a third doctor, but they stressed the sooner the clinic goes up, the better chance the island can retain and not burn out the two excellent doctors already working in the clinic.

To further speed up the application process, Brenda asked that the LTC hold a Community Information Meeting to present a draft bylaw for the amendment to the public, and to do so before the next LTC meeting scheduled for Nov. 25.

The Trustees will be holding a meeting – the date, time and location are to be announced.

Regional Planning Manager Chris Jackson said there are a number of applications already in the work load queue, but also said some of them have stalled.

“There are a number of sub-divisions. There is another transfer application [but] right now the way the books look, if an application came in today, we wouldn’t likely open the file for three months.

“That isn’t three months getting to you, that’s when [staff] would look at it.”

Along with those present, letters of support for the re-zoning application were received from Emcon Services, Jean Crowder (MP Nanaimo-North Cowichan), Leonard Krog (MLA), the Gabriola Seniors Citizens Association, the Gabriola Ambulance Society, People for a Healthy Community, the Gabriola Island Chamber of Commerce, the Gabriola Lions Club and the Gabriola Emergency Social Services.

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Clinic application fast-tracked; OCP still comes first

Flying Shingle, Monday, October 25

A rezoning application meant to provide land for a medical clinic and “urgent care” (emergency) facility will be given precedence over other development applications.

At their Thursday meeting Local Trust Committee (LTC) Trustees also agreed to pay half the application fees, or $2,250 for the project. However staff will not use time allotted to the Official Community Plan review to process the application.

As previously reported, the Gabriola Health Care Society (GHCS) intends to build the clinic for the doctors currently located at Twin Beaches mall. It is asking the LTC to rezone a 4.1 acre parcel, located at the end of Church Street, from “Forestry” to “Institutional”. The land has been donated by Dr. Bob Rooks.

GCHS aims to raise $1 million to build the facility. During a presentation to the LTC on Thursday GHCS President Brenda Fowler said the society has raised $575,000 since last November.

What’s the rush?

Fowler said the society wants to begin building by March 2011. Acknowledging that the timing would be a challenge she said the reasons for the rush were to maintain the momentum the society has built, and because it is hoping the new clinic will attract a third on-call doctor to the island. She said the two doctors working out of the Twin Beaches clinic are in danger of burning out because of their on-call emergency work.

Regarding the donated land, Fowler said: “There have been no promises made to Dr. Rooks and we expect that none will be made. … The deal is off if there are any conditions on the gift”.

Fowler noted that the society has held a number of open houses to garner public opinion of the project, and the project has a broad range of community support. She also said the society has canvassed the neighbours of the proposed location and “all have stated” that the location is ideal as it is close to the Fire Hall and Ambulance Station.

Staying in the box

In response to encouragement by one of the clinic’s supporters that the LTC “think outside the box” to speed the application process, Trustee Sheila Malcolmson said to do so “is an invitation to a legal court challenge”. She said it was a “really serious task” to amend the community bylaws, and that “cutting corners loses you time at the end of the day”.

Proponents clarified that they were not asking for corners to be cut but hoped to nail down a time frame for the architects and builders. LTC chair Louise Bell said it is very difficult to “master-plan these sorts of applications”.

Describing the formal application process, Regional Planning Manager Chris Jackson made it clear that it will take months.

Malcolmson warned the society that it was the LTC’s responsibility to look sceptically at the application, and that many community members will as well. She said the LTC depends on this process to help them do their “due diligence”, and recommended that the proponents not take it personally. She said the committee has to ensure only the proper uses for the land are allowed, regardless of who owns it in the future.

Trustee Deborah Ferens said that the community was likely to be more comfortable once the ownership of the property has been transferred to the health care foundation. Brian Henning, speaking on behalf of Rooks, said the property had to be rezoned before that transfer could be made.

VIHA involvement

Jacinthe Eastick, Gabriolan and member of the Advisory Planning Commission, asked if the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) was “on board” with the project. Gabriola Health Care Foundation (GHCF) Treasurer Harvey Graham said: “As far as we know”. He said they received a letter five years ago which said VIHA “will provide all the supplies”. He said “we have no indication that they have any concerns … so we have their continuing support”. He said VIHA also provides “a lot of the equipment”. He thought VIHA was “strongly in favour” of the project.

Eastick said that one of the concerns about the project is how it will be funded in the future. She said if VIHA is not on side the community might not be able to support the clinic.

VIHA Communications Officer Shannon Marshall said that VIHA agreed via a 2007 letter to provide the supplies for a “basic urgent care room” at the temporary Twin Beaches clinic. The letter said this agreement did not include any “advanced equipment”, but that “we will be able to determine what additional equipment may be required to support the urgent care needs of Gabriola residents” in a permanent clinic. Marshall said: “Our commitment remains as outlined in the letter”.

Trustees asked staff to prepare draft bylaws for the application, send the application to the Advisory Planning Committee for review and comment, and set up a special LTC meeting and a community information meeting to consider the draft bylaws.

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Community Clinic re-zoning application filed

Gabriola Sounder, Derek Kilbourn October 4, 2010

The Gabriola Health Care Foundation has made application with the Islands Trust requesting that the zoning of the parcel proposed for the site of the permanent Community Clinic be changed to Institutional 3, aka IN3.

The property being the 4.1 acres at the top of Church Street, North of the Ambulance station which was donated to the Society by Dr. Bob Rooks.

The parcel, if the applications are all approved, will be roughly 440 ft. wide and 400 ft. deep.

The application has been made under the name of the agent acting on behalf of the GHCF, Brian Henning, who is a partner in Williamson & Associates, Professional Surveyors. GHCF Treasure Harvey Graham said, “he has experience in this area and volunteered to act as GHCF’s agent.

“The application to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to have the property subdivided to create the proposed separate 4.1 acre parcel will follow shortly.

The complete zoning amendment application was submitted to the Trust office September 15th. Harvey said, “while early days, so far we have not had a response. Obviously, now that we have got this far the Foundation is eager to move forward and receive any further public input that there might be regarding the proposed site.”

The application had been received prior to the last LTC meeting, but was not on the agenda for trustees to discuss.

According to planning staff it is planned to be on the Applications list, available for discussion, at the next LTC meeting on Oct. 21st.

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Classics raise ‘over $30,000’ for medical clinic

Flying Shingle, September 27, 2010

Close to 100 people raised over $30,000 Saturday at a concert to support the Gabriola Health Care Foundation (GHCF) in its efforts to build a three bay emergency treatment room and medical clinic.

The evening’s earnings included a cheque from the Lions for over $18,000. An auction conducted by Gabriolan Eric Boulton and GHCF President Brenda Fowler raised about $1000.

The concert which was initiated and directed by Gabriolans Gail Lund and John Capon featured many of Gabriola’s finest classical musicians, and was well-received by an enthusiastic audience.

Society Auxiliary President Nancy Nevison and Lion’s President Mike Phillips hold up a cheque for the health society. ~ Photo by Chris Bowers

Auctioneers Eric Boulton, and Brenda Fowler managed to raise about $1000 from the already generous crowd. ~ Photo by Chris Bowers

HRH Queen Elizabeth I, aka Doris McLaughlin, emceed the evening in clothing from Gabriola Players' recent play In Juliet's Garden. ~ Photo by Chris Bowers

Gabriola Players' and doorman Steve O'Neill is also resplendant in Elizabethan gear. ~ Photo by Chris Bowers

Director Gail Lund, in a familiar pose, directs by enunciation and main force of character. ~ Photo by Chris Bowers

Director John Capon leads the choir and orchestra in the grand finale. ~ Photo by Chris Bowers

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Co-op finds more ways to support clinic

Flying Shingle, September 20, 2010

Left to right: Brenda Fowler, Alan Andre, and Karelyn Goodall hold up the first of four $4,000 annual cheques for the community medical clinic. ~ Photo by Chris Bowers

Mid-Island Co-op has found another way to support the Gabriola Heath Care Foundation (GHCF) besides selling hot dogs for them and providing the opportunity for community members to put their gas credits on the GHCF card.

On Monday Gabriola Co-op Manager Alan Andre and Community Relations Manager Karelyn Goodall met with GHCF Chair Brenda Fowler at the Co-op on North Road to present GHCF with the first of four annual $4,000 cheques.

Karelyn Goodall, community relations manager for - Mid Island Co-op said: “At Co-op, we were moved by the tremendous effort the GHCF is undertaking to provide access to health care to the people of Gabriola Island”. She said that while Co-op members have donated to the clinic, “… We feel that access to health care is vitally important to every community and, as a community partner, we wanted to do more to ensure there is adequate access to health care on Gabriola Island. When GHCF approached us to request a donation, we saw this as an incredible opportunity to show our support for the cause and to give back to the Gabriola community that supports us every day … We are pleased that this ongoing gift may help those in need to receive life-saving medical care”.

In thanking Andre and Goodall for the donation, Fowler said that it helps demonstrate to islanders that they can make a significant contribution to the clinic by donating small amounts of money over a long period of time.

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Mid-Island Co-op donates $16,000 to Health Care Clinic

Derek Kilbourn,, Gabriola Sounder, September 21, 2010

Brenda Fowler (Left), Chair of the Gabriola Health Care Foundation, accepts the first of four $4,000 cheques promised from Mid-Island Co-op to the Foundation. Presenting the cheque were Alan Andre,Gabriola manager for the Co-op and Karelyn Goodall Community /relations for Mid-Island Co-op. ~ Sounder photo

Mid-Island Co-op, through its Gabriola branch, made the first of four yearly donations of $4,000 to the Gabriola Health Care Society’s clinic funds.

Alan Andre, who manages the Gabriola Co-op station and Karelyn Goodall, Community Relations for Mid-Island Co-op.

Karelyn explained the Co-op wanted to make a donation that was above and beyond what members are already donating at the pump through the GHCF Co-op number.

She said, “At Co-op, we were moved by the tremendous effort the GHCF is undertaking to provide access to health care to the people of Gabriola Island.

“In a show of support, our members are able to donate their patronage at the pump to the GHCF, but this is a donation from our members, not directly from Co-op.”

Karelyn and Alan presented Brenda Fowler, Chair of the Gabriola Health Care Foundation with a cheque for $4,000, saying over the next four years, a total of $16,000 would be donated directly from the Co-op to the Clinic funds.

Karelyn said, “We feel that access to health care is vitally important to every community and, as a community partner, we wanted to do more to ensure there is adequate access to health care on Gabriola Island. When GHCF approached us to request a donation, we saw this as an incredible opportunity to show our support for the cause and to give back to the Gabriola community that supports us every day.

“Mid Island Co-op is happy to support the Gabriola Health Care Foundation

“We are pleased that this ongoing gift may help those in need to receive life-saving medical care.”

Brenda thanked the Co-op and pointed out the idea of long-term sustainable donations is one she was glad the Co-op was making an example of.

“This is a significant donation over a period of time.

“We have many residents that want to make a contribution but can’t figure out how to do it financially. This donation shows how anyone can make a substantial donation. Whether it is a hundred dollars over a year or $4,000 every year, it is the same planning principal. That’s what it demonstrates to the community and we thank you.”

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World Cup of Golf raises $8,200 for Health Care Clinic

Gabriola Golf Club Press Release Gabriola Sounder, September 21, 2010

Friday the 13 of Aug. was a perfect and lucky day. The Gabriola Golf and Country Club held the Second Annual World Cup of Golf with seventeen teams and 85 golfers playing on teams flying various flags.

Among the 17 teams were representatives of the United Nations, Canada, South Carolina, Iceland and two Scottish teams. The weather was as good as it gets and without a doubt everyone, good golfers and duffers, had a blast.

The winner was Spain staring Mike and Miranda Garrett, Pat Tisdall, Jim Simpson and Peter Garrett. Second prize went to Mexico and third prize to Quebec. We play again next year on Aug. 12. Teams are already signing up for one of the best golf tournaments in the world.

Proceeds of $8,200 have been forwarded to the Gabriola Lions Club who agreed that, this year, they will be made available to the Gabriola Health Care Foundation.

Without the support of the many volunteers from the Health Care Foundation, the Lions Club and the Golf Club this event could not happen. As well, very special thanks to our lead sponsors Village Food Market, BC Ferries and Arbutus Building Supplies. Thanks also to Architrave Design Build, Coast Realty Group, Degnen Excavators, Eaglequest Golf Centre, Eternal Flow Computers, Fairwinds Golf Course, Gabriola Artworks, Gabriola Automotive, Gabriola Optical,, Gabriola Wine Cellar, Golf West, IDA Island Pharmacy, North Road Sports and Clothing, Pacific Western Brewery, Pages Marina, Robert’s Place, Silva Bay Restaurant and Marina, Silva Bay Shipyard, Skol Pub, Sleemans Breweries, Surf Lodge, The Gym @ Twin Beaches, Tofino Air, Village Liquor Store, Wesley Street Restaurant, Wholesale Sports Outdoor Outfitters, Winchelsea View Golf Course and Woodfire Pizza and Pasta.

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Contractors contribute towards clinic completion

Flying Shingle, September 7, 2010

Dallas (left) and Curtis (right) Smith, who will be providing supplies at cost towards building an emergency treatment room and medical clinic at Church Street off North road stand outside of their Arbutus Building Supplies store. ~ Photo by Chris Bowers

Building trades people have stepped up to the plate in a big way to build a permanent community-owned medical clinic and urgent care emergency room, according to Gabriola Health Care Foundation (GHCF) President Brenda Fowler.

GHC Society (GHCS) member Judith Madsen agrees, and on Tuesday supplied a long list (and growing) of people who have volunteered to donate their labour towards the project.

As previously reported, the society intends to build the clinic for doctors currently located at Twin Beaches mall. The new clinic will be built on a 4.1 acre parcel located at the end of Church Road. The land has been donated by Dr. Bob Rooks.

GHCS aims to raise $ 1million to build the facility. Madsen reports that they have raised $400,000 since November 2009.

Madsen said contractor Nelson Thorne will coordinate volunteers in getting the building to “lockup” - or completion of the framing, siding and roofing - while Jordy Alexander will put in the foundation. Yvon Bombois has volunteered to lead an electrical team, Ross Pitt will do the same for the plumbing, Danny Windecker will drill the well, Thor Simrose will install the septic field, Dan Ruckman and Son will install tiles, Tina Barraclough will do finishing work on the drywall, Gord MacDonald will do site preparation and landscaping, Sonia Baker will do landscaping design and gardens, Architrave and the Plenary Design Group will do the architectural work, Chuck Connors will be on-site manager, John Campbell will coordinate workers and Stevo’s Roofing and Harbour city Drywall have also volunteered their time.

Campbell, who has rounded up most of the volunteers, called from a fishing trip to talk about the project. He said he has lived on Gabriola for about 40 years and the response he has received “expresses best what this island is about”. He said he called about 25 carpenters in the early spring, and “all of them said ‘yes’ ”. So he started calling other trades people, he said, and after talking to about 50 people, “I haven’t heard one ‘no’”. He said the “stars are all aligning” for a “good old-fashioned barn-raising”.

Arbutus Lumber owners Curtis and Dallas Smith will provide the project with materials “at cost”. Dallas said this would include “pretty well everything the public can get from us”. He said they will also ask their suppliers to give them a better price. Curtis said: “We will tell them exactly what it is all about and … I think most of them will do something at least”.

Dallas said they could also donate crane time from their crane truck. Curtis added that there were a number of such ways they could help out so “…we’re going to be involved, I guess, in every part of it”.

Dallas said the project was a good cause and would be great for the community. Noting that a lot of their customers are donating time, he said: “… we also want to support them”. He said they discussed the project “… when the whole idea first came up, and agreed we wanted to get involved”. Curtis added that about eight months ago they told GHCS organiser Nancy Nevison they would help out.

Thorne said he is raising his family here and that working on the clinic has provided an opportunity “to give back to the community that has given so much to me”. He said the energy and commitment of the people spearheading the work also attracted him to the project. He said he had “… never lived in a place with so many talented people. It is inspiring for me”. He added that he hoped that young families on the island will get involved in the project as they will benefit from it in the future.

Madsen said there will be a team of 30 or more volunteers working on the site every day. She said this will be complemented by “Friday Night Clean-up crews” of different teams who come at the end of each week to clean up after the busy builders. She said the Lions and the Rollo Centres have already signed up for this job.

Acknowledging that the timing is ambitious but “if we don’t push for those dates we won’t meet them”, Fowler said they are hoping that at least parts of the building will be ready for use by November 2011.

Fowler said: “Now we need people who have capital to buy materials to help these trades people make their contributions a reality”. Madsen thought that recognising that trades people are contributing many thousands of dollars worth of labour towards the clinic will encourage those who are financially well off to also be generous.

Campbell, still recruiting from the northern tip of Vancouver Island, said more help is needed and encouraged any trades folks who are interested in helping out to call him at 250-247-8863.

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Rooks property chosen as best option for clinic

Derek Kilbourn,, Gabriola Sounder, August 24, 2010

The Gabriola Health Care Foundation Board has chosen to pursue 4.5 acres adjacent to the Ambulance Station on Church Rd. as the site for the proposed health care and emergency clinic.

This follows a special meeting of Foundation and Society members Tuesday night last week.

Brenda Fowler, Society president, explained going into the meeting that unlike this time last year, there were now three sites on the table for the Society to choose from.

In fall 2009, the Women’s Institute had offered the use of its land behind the Post Office.

But, as Brenda said, “We were Cinderella’s sister. A beautiful shoe that we couldn’t fit in to.”

In early 2010, the Coats family put an offer on the table for 2.5 acres on the ferry hill.

“After searching for three years,” said Brenda, “I can tell you, even with a price tag of $100,000 it was the best option.”

At the annual general meeting, Foundation and Society members gave the board the go ahead to purse the Coats property as the site.

Almost right after the AGM, the Foundation was approached by Dr. Bob Rooks, owner of the property beyond the end of Church Rd.

4.5 acres were put on the table, to be donated to the Foundation.

Brenda said there had been an offer earlier in 2010 from Dr. Rooks, but that he had included conditions the Society was not able to meet – the land would be donated and the road built connecting Church and Spruce Roads. In return his remaining land would be split in to four parcels.

This new offer has no strings attached, beyond the Foundation having to have the building up within five years.

Brenda said, “This is what I would call an unencumbered offer, it stands on its own merit and has to do with us and our need.

“It includes the 4.5 acres, the land survey, the site preparation and the road access that includes the length of our property.”

Asked to clarify the road, Brenda said the offer was only to have Church Rd. extended the length of the property. It did not include extending Church Rd. to connect to Spruce Rd.

In order to allow the board to choose from the three sites, the Foundation had to convene a special meeting of the members to rescind the motion from Feb. which asked the board to pursue the Coats property.

The members voted in favour of rescinding the motion, and a new motion was made and passed, giving the board the authority to choose between the three options and then pursue the chosen site to completion.

After the special meeting, the Board met and voted in favour of pursuing the Rooks donation.

Brenda said with all the other options aside, “It was the proximity to the Ambulance, Fire Hall and Helicopter pad that was the kicker.

“The more pragmatic amongst our board members also looked at the offer of site preparation, road, land survey. These are not cheap, not something to sneeze at.”

Of the three properties, only the Women’s Institute property is properly zoned for the clinic.

Both the Coats and Rooks properties faced the prospect of needing to be re-zoned.

Brenda said in speaking with Islands Trust staff and trustees, she anticipates the re-zoning process will take six months, that she has been told it will be given top priority on the planning agenda.

Should it be re-zoned by early 2011, she is hoping ground could be broken and construction started in April 2011. The building could be ready for occupancy by the time the doctor’s appreciation dinner rolls around in Nov. 2011.

“That’s the timeline. We need to get this done quickly, we need to raise $1 million. We have two doctors working 24/7, 365 days a year.”

Brenda moved that the Gabriola Health Care Foundation, on behalf of the community, formally and publicly thank the Women’s Institute, the Coats family and Dr. Rooks for their generous offers of property for a permanent community-owned medical clinic for Gabriola Island.

“We’re raising a million dollars this year, and we’re kissing the $500,000 mark. We’re close. We’ve gotten some larger donations. The in-kind workers donations are coming in so fast. The thermometer is doing so well.

“Those that have been waiting on the fence, this is the time to donate, this is the time many people have been waiting for.

“We have a plan. Part of the plan to get to the top is that some 20 odd people need to write larger checks. By larger we mean more than $5,000, maybe more than $10,000. So we’re going to invite them to a glass of wine with us over Thanksgiving, they can meet our board, they can meet the contractors who are going to be building the clinic, and hopefully they can write their cheques.”

At the meeting, Don Butt reminded the members and potential donors, “If they have securities, you can donate that to the Foundation, to the trading account of the Foundation and you will get a receipt for the whole amount without paying capital gains, the Foundation is a non-profit so it doesn’t pay either. It’s a win-win, except for the government.”

Contacted after the meeting, Dr. Bob Rooks said, “First of all, I’ve now retired here. I have dealt with the doctors that are here. Dr. Bosman is one of the best in BC.

“My experience with him and with what they are doing here has been good. I’m concerned with as I retire with having good health care. It’s nice to have Nanaimo close by, but we’re big enough now we need to have our own place for ER and to do things that are critical.

“I think if we look at the age of the population that lives here, I think we’re going to find it is growing older and health care is important to us.

Bob added, “When [the Foundation] first talked about it, they looked at 2.5 acres. I said no. Let’s get you 4, then you’ll have the chance to put in more physiotherapy people, you could get a CT in there, and an MRI in there someday. These are things I had in my [veterinary] hospital. If you need to upgrade it, you’ll need the space.”

“It was the right thing to do, if you follow me long term, you’ll see I always try to do the right thing. You can’t take it with you when you go.”

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Health society accepts Rooks land offer

Flying Shingle, Monday, August 23, 2010

The Gabriola Health Care Society (GHCS) has accepted an offer of free land on which to build a community-owned medical clinic from Dr. Bob Rooks of Potlatch Holdings.

GHC Foundation President Brenda Fowler said at a general meeting Tuesday at the Roxy, that the property is ideal as it is at the top of Church Street, close to the ambulance garage, the fire hall and the helicopter pad.

As previously reported, the society wants to build a permanent community-owned medical clinic and emergency room for doctors currently operating out of Twin Beaches. In the process they would like to expand the emergency room to three beds and increase the size of the clinic, in the hopes of attracting a third doctor who is willing to work on call to the island. Although Gabriola already has four doctors on the island, only two are covering after-hour emergencies. The society believes a third emergency doctor is needed to prevent them from burning out.

Also as previously reported, the Gabriola Women’s Institute (WI) first offered their land beside the Post Office on South Road for free. When the society decided the space was not large enough for possible future expansion, Gabriolans Clyde and Andrew Coats offered to subdivide off a parcel of land for the clinic on the ferry hill on North Road for $100,000 and tax concessions.

At Tuesday’s general meeting, Gabriolan Jamie Lawrence asked what the terms or conditions of the Rooks offer were. Fowler said: “When we first went to see Dr. Rooks in March, the offer was more complicated than this because he was trying to accommodate several things in his offer to us. He said: ‘I will give the community the road’ (that would be the fire access from Spruce to Church road), ‘I will give the foundation land for the clinic, and in return I would like the foundation to go the community and get my land divided into four severances’ ”.

The board “decided that we didn’t want to become part of that discussion”, Fowler said, “… so that’s why we met with Coats and took him up on his offer”. She said Rooks was off the island when they made that decision. She said when he returned Rooks “learned what had occurred” and called with a less “complex” offer. She said the offer as it now stands was a better one “because this one affects only us”. She said Rooks has also offered to pay for the survey, site preparation, and road installation.

Fowler said under the current deal the road access would only cover the extent of the clinic property, and that the clinic had to be built within five years. She was not sure five years from when.

The 4.1 acres Rooks is offering the society will have to be rezoned from Forestry to Institutional, Fowler said. She said there is similar zoning in the immediate vicinity and noted that planners usually prefer that to be the case in rezoning applications. She added that they had met with Planner Chris Jackson and Trustees Sheila and Malcolmson and Deborah Ferens, and were told that the rezoning process could take six months to two years to complete. Fowler added that the trustees and planner had said if asked they would make the application a top priority, and would waive half the application costs.

Reached for comment Malcolmson clarified that: “Trustee Ferens and I met separately with the Health Care Society reps, when they were discussing the Coats property, but did not and cannot make promises on behalf of the (Local Trust Committee (LTC)). The LTC could receive a request to sponsor the application cost, from the LTC’s own budget. This was done with the Commons, Borsuk density transfer, and the Coats density transfer the Gabriola Conservancy sponsored. The LTC would discuss and vote on that in a public meeting”.

Malcolmson added that rezoning takes a minimum of nine months, “and the LTC would have to consider how to prioritise such an application against its current top priority which is the OCP review”. She said the LTC has not received a rezoning application or a request for fee sponsorship.

Fowler estimated they could begin building in April 2011, and that it would take 26 weeks to lockup. She thought it was possible the clinic could open late fall 2011. She said raising the million dollars necessary to build the clinic needed to be done quickly in order to attract another emergency doctor as soon as possible.

Fowler said local contractors have already volunteered to do much of the building, that Architrave has been helping with the design, and that a retired architect who specialised in medical clinics will consult with Architrave.

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More Gabriolans using on-island doctors

Flying Shingle, Monday, August 16, 2010

The number of Gabriola Island residents who are receiving at least one service from a Gabriola-based general practitioner appears to be increasing, according to Bernadette Murphy, media relations manager of the Ministry of Health.

As previously reported, in the past the Vancouver Island Health Association had noted that over the period of 2005 to 2008 only about 50 per cent of Gabriolans received their primary health care on-island. However Murphy said in a July email: “In 2008/09, the most recent year of complete data, a total of 3,185 Gabriola Island residents received physician services from general practitioners in British Columbia. Of these, 2,336 residents (73 per cent) received at least one service from Gabriola Island based general practitioners. The proportion of total paid services attributable to Gabriola Island residents receiving physician services from general practitioners from Gabriola Island was 46 per cent”.

Murphy said that in 2005/06, only 36 per cent of Gabriola Island residents saw a Gabriola Island based general practitioner.

Murphy said that the 2008/09 data shows that 70 per cent of Gabriolans also received at least one service from a general practitioner based somewhere other than Gabriola Island, while the proportion of paid services Gabriola Island residents received from general practitioners with billing addresses off of Gabriola Island was 54 per cent. She added that 89 per cent of Gabriolans “… received at least one service from a Gabriola Island general practitioner AND a general practitioner not based on Gabriola Island”. From that we “can infer a pattern of service utilization both on and off of Gabriola”, she said.

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Ways to contribute to the Health Care Society

Derek Kilbourn,, Gabriola Sounder, June 28, 2010

With the coming long weekend, Gabriola Health Care Auxiliary Chair Nancy Nevison wanted to remind the public that there are many ways to donate to the proposed emergency and medical clinic.

Along with all the specific events being planned by the Auxiliary, there are ways to donate on a daily basis.

The Co-op Gas Card - when one shops at the Gabriola Co-op gas station, if one uses the Health Care Co-op number, the membership benefits will then go to the Auxiliary. That number being 611459.

The Health Care Auxiliary has also now been approved to receive proceeds through the Village Food Market Community Card program - when one charges $100 to a Village Food Market Community Card for shopping at the store, if the Health Care Society is the charity of choice, 5% of the $100 will go to the clinic.

At the Slice of Life Gallery in Madrona Marketplace, Maarten Pererra has designated pieces of artwork with percentages of the proceeds to go to the Heath Care Society.

And then there are the social enterprises that are being run out of the Health Care Village office.

Nancy will be preparing floral arrangements for sale. Those who pre-order floral arrangements though the Health Care Auxiliary will be provided tax receipts in the amount of the net proceeds of the purchase.

Don Butt has brought in various prints of west coast photography for sale in the office, with proceeds going to the Health Care Foundation.

And starting on Canada Day, ice cream will be available for purchase at the Health Care office.

A fig tree has taken over as the tree in the ‘Branching out’ campaign in the Health Care Village Office. Added to the office is a multimedia wall sculpture - donated to the Auxiliary by a generous Gabriolan.

Originally in 1993 the unnamed donor paid $1,200, so anything over $600 will hang it in your home.

There is going to be an eclectic collection of items going up on eBay consisting of items donated to the Auxiliary.

All proceeds will go to the Auxiliary. If anyone out there has an item they would like to donate to the Auxiliary for sale, please contact the Auxiliary office.

Nancy added, “All this excitement means we need to extend our hours and that means we need more of you to volunteer a couple of hours each week.

“I will be training every day from 2-4pm – please let me know when you are available, and consider asking a friend or family member to buddy up with you. Student letters available.

“Volunteering is the best way to show your support, be informed, and have fun! CAll Nancy Nevison – Auxiliary Chair, Volunteer’s Office (250) 325-7215”

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Coats land new site for clinic -- Proposal will require subdivision and re-zoning

Derek Kilbourn,, Gabriola Sounder, June 22, 2010

After finding that the WI Hall site will not meet the requirements of the proposed building, the Gabriola Health Care Society and Foundation has now been offered a partnership with the Coats family to construct the proposed Medical and Emergency clinic on South Road adjacent to the Madrona/old TnT property.

That was the news announced to members at the GHCS and GHCF Annual General Meeting held this past Thursday night at the Roxy.

Building Committee Chair, Ian Brownlie, explained that there were at least nine sites examined in the process of trying to find a site for the new clinic - but almost all of the sites were either too small, zoned incorrectly or unavailable for the time being.

Ian said, “One would think finding a site on an island with as much land as Gabriola would be simple - I thought so - look around you, there’s plenty of space.

“But there’s little things called zoning and when you ask the Trust what a clinic would be zoned under it is IN3.”

IN3 being ‘Institutional 3’ - required for the clinic because it includes ‘urgent care medical clinic.’

Ian explained the goal has always been to look for land close to the village centre.

But when the building committee started looked at the zoning around the village there are only a few properties with the right IN3 zoning, or large enough, to make re-zoning to IN3 potentially possible.

The Coats lot, sized at around 25 acres, is currently zoned large rural residential.

In order to have a lot subdivided off the LRR, the lot minimum size will need to be 1 ha (2.47 acres)

According to Islands Trust staff only the Trust office, the Fire Hall and the Emcon properties are zoned IN3.

The WI Hall site, offered by the Gabriola Women’s Institute last November as a site for the proposed clinic, is currently zoned IN1.

Ian explained the lot is too small to put the proposed 4,000 square foot clinic on. By the time the building and required parking were put in, no matter how the designers worked their magic, all the trees as well as the current WI Hall would need to be moved to meet the various codes.

He added that they had considered the old clinic area and house adjacent to Arbutus - but that, “was going to cost, land alone, about $400K.”

Ian said, “Thanks to the Coats family, we’ve had a really excellent offer.

“They have made a very generous offer to the society. It will still need subdividing and it will still need zoning changes.

“But it is certainly in the right place. with good access and is adjacent to the Village area.

“I think it is the best offer we’ve had to date - I thank the Coats family, particularly Clyde who is here tonight, for his generosity and his family’s generosity.”

Gabriola Health Care Society’s Brenda Fowler said in meeting with planning staff and from what she has heard from the Ministry of Transport, the site is looking good. In an ideal world, she said, re-zoning can take as little as six months, but can also take up to two years. She hopes to have the process done within about eight months.

“Currently the GHCS has a letter from the Fire Chief - he is in support of this site. BC Ambulance have been asked for a letter of support fro this site as well as GESS.

“The letters will go in with the re-zoning application package.

“I would ask if we could make a motion for this site and vote on it so that we can say this group of people have considered this site and that our two organizations are in favour of this site.”

The motion carried.

Clyde said he was happy to be working with the health care society but that, “you need to make things work for me - we need to keep the access road between telus and your lot.

“I would suggest you make the lot a little bigger than you need right now so you have the room to add on in the future.”

Clyde also offered to help with the lot getting water and he already has the site checked and knows where the sewage may be best collected.

Brenda said she wanted to make sure the Society said, “a special thank you to the Women’s Institute. Without their offer, we wouldn’t be where we are. Without their offer of the property we couldn’t answer the question of where it was going to be, or when we would finally get started.

“With that offer, we were able to turn that corner, we moved our slow moving train out of the station onto the fast track.”

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Gabriolans get land for permanent clinic

By Darrell Bellaart, Daily News, June 19, 2010

Gabriola Islanders have found the land they need for a $1-million emergency health clinic the community has been working to build for three years.

The Coats family donated a two-acre lot on North Road to the cause, Gabriola Health Care Foundation members learned at the organization's annual general meeting Thursday.

The property brings islanders a "huge step forward" to replace a temporary clinic on Berry Point Road, said Brenda Fowler, foundation president.

It won't provide the same care as a hospital, but it could save lives in an emergency.

"We must get this clinic built, because it will accommodate a third doctor," Fowler said.

Two doctors staff the temporary clinic, a situation she called "not sustainable" due to risk of burnout. The new, 4,300-square-foot clinic will have a large emergency room with room for up to three patients. The property needs to be rezoned and subdivided, a process that should be complete by early next year. Construction should be finished in 2012.

The community has already raised $200,000 and that campaign will continue. Provincial funding will also be needed.

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Why the Tour de Gabriola?

Al and Lou Strano, Tour de Gabriola Committe, Gabriola Sounder, Tuesday, May 18 2010

In the summer of 2005, Dr. Bob Henderson was quoted in a Sounder article that if Gabriola had an ECG machine (Life Pak Unit) it would save lives. If we waited for the provincial government, it would take years to get it.

In usual island style, Gabriolans started fundraising: hot dogs, buffalo burgers, parties and concerts were all part of the campaign. Not to be outdone, island bike riders organized a bike ride, which came to be called the Tour de Gabriola. The $3,000 raised help put the Critical Care Equipment Fund over the top; in November, the machine was delivered. And it did save lives.

In the spring of 2006, Dr. Henderson reported that the province was not providing drugs, like the clot-buster needed to prevent strokes analyzed by the defibrillator, because Gabriola did not have a proper facility to receive and administer the drugs.

One of the bike ride organizers formed a new fund and called it Primary Care Gabriola, with the purpose of creating an emergency treatment facility and clinic. Met with initial skepticism, the ride originally raised only $2200. But, Bruce Mason, a feature writer at the Sounder, picked up the idea and promoted it. Fortunately, so did VIHA, and the GHCS was born (see for more).

And the tour continues, having raised nearly $20,000. So, in “The Year of the Clinic,” what better way to support primary health care than riding in the Tour or supporting a rider.

Details of the Tour can be found online at or email PrimaryCareGabriola@yahoo.CA.

Registration/pledge forms available at The Sounder office, WI Hall (M-F 10-2), Sandstone Studio (the Clinic at Twin Beaches) and Visitor Centre (Fri-Sun 11-3)

For more information, email

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Rodrigo Pessoa Golf Classic now on-line

Jean Llewellyn, Health Care Foundation, Gabriola Sounder, Tuesday, May 18 2010

The ball is rolling and picking up speed for the “Founders’ Day” tournament of the Rodrigo Pessoa Golf Classic, hosted by the Gabriola Health Care Foundation, that will take place at Gabriola Golf and Country Club, on Monday, June 14.

Complete information – together with all the necessary entry and registration forms for golfers, non-golfers, sponsors and advertisers – is now available on-line (click on the Rodrigo Pessoa Golf Classic button on the opening page). Tickets are also now available for the special Rodrigo Pessoa presentation, including a slide show of his career with a personal running commentary, and an audience-generated Q&A session.

As space is limited, everyone is encouraged to purchase tickets for this presentation prior to the May 31 deadline.

The tickets – also available from Artworks – include either a BBQ or formal dinner.

Limited time will be available following the presentation for autographs and photos, but everyone attending the BBQ will have further opportunities to meet Rodrigo following the formal dinner at the Golf Club. Once again, tickets are selling fast, with showjumping fans coming from as far afield as Sointula!

We are thankful to a number of local sponsors who have already pledged their support: the Gabriola Co-Op, Tofino Air, Three Heron’s Studio, Wur Here B&B and Hummingbird Lodge B&B, alongside Gabriola Chamber of Commerce and Board members of Gabriola Golf and Country Club who have provided invaluable knowledge, expertise and commitment to making this “Founders’ Day” a success.

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Health Care Society announces Health and Wellbeing survey

Dave Innell, Gabriola Health Care Society, Tuesday, April 27 2010

A Health and Wellbeing Survey will be conducted on Gabriola Island in June, 2010. The survey, which is being organized by the Gabriola Health Care Society, was announced at the Sustainability Gabriola Fair on Saturday, April 24.

“The purpose of the survey is to get a better understanding of Gabriolans’ views on their overall health and wellbeing.” said Dave Innell, Chair of the GHCS Data and Services Committee. “Our objective is to have as many Gabriolans as possible complete the survey and provide their views on a range of health and well-being issues.

“The survey will be available electronically for those with access to a computer and also in paper form. Ideally we will get input from permanent residents, seasonal residents and visitors.”

Innell said that the survey is being conducted with technical assistance from the Public and Population Health Observatory in the Vancouver Island Health Authority and the University of Victoria, which have assisted with a number of similar surveys around the province and internationally.

However the Gabriola survey questions were developed by a group of Gabriolans and have been reviewed by a number of island groups and individuals.

The survey seeks views on a range of issues that can affect a community’s feelings of wellbeing including safety, financial security, cultural and social wellbeing, as well as overall health.

It is estimated that the survey will take 10 to 15 minutes to complete. Some of the sample questions highlighted at the announcement include : “What do you like most about living on Gabriola?”;

“Overall, how would you rate the quality of all health care services in your community?”;

“ Do you feel your needs for cultural and educational activities are able to be met while living on Gabriola?”; and “Do you participate regularly in physical exercise?”.

It is hoped the results of the survey will be available on the Gabriola Health Care Society website by early fall. It is expected that the results will show the overall health and well-being needs and desires of Gabriolans.

It should help to identify where new health and well-being services may be needed and to confirm support for existing services. It will also establish a baseline to help measure changes in views on our overall wellbeing over time.

“We encourage all Gabriolans to complete and submit the well-being survey to help those planning both health care and other services to make decisions that align with the priorities of the residents.” said Innell.

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Rodrigo Pessoa coming to Gabriola. Believe it!

Jean Llewellyn, Health Care Auxiliary, Gabriola Sounder, Tuesday, March 30 2010

No one can argue that the Health Care Auxilliary does not recognize a unique fundraising opportunity for Gabriola’s Health Care Foundation when one presents itself! Quite the contrary! On Monday, June 14, two sporting worlds will collide when showjumping’s World and Olympic Champion, Rodrigo Pessoa, comes to Gabriola – accepting an invitation to bring his name to a future signature golf tournament: the “Rodrigo Pessoa Golf Classic”.

In 2010, this remarkable initiative will be launched with a “Founders’ Day” golf tournament on Monday, June 14, followed by a brief presentation and a BBQ “meet and greet”. It is planned that the “Rodrigo Pessoa Golf Classic” will formally launch in 2011 and become an annual event in which he will personally participate alongside friends, sporting colleagues and corporate sponsors – many influential individuals coming together for the benefit of Gabriola’s future health clinic.

Pessoa, a keen golfer for many years, has already said that he will be asking a long-time friend to accompany him in June: None other than reigning gold medalist from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games – Canada’s own superstar, Eric Lamaze. Both men have faced-off on the international showjumping circuit for many years and regularly attend the summer tournament series and September’s Masters at Spruce Meadows in Calgary – a facility that has several times been voted the #1 showjumping venue in the world by the FEI (International Equestrian Federation).

Of course, as a career equestrian, we won’t let the occasion slip by for Pessoa to share his knowledge and skill with the local horse community through a riding clinic or personal presentation and, who knows, perhaps to a future showjumping event here on Gabriola is also in the stars.

On Monday, April 5, Brenda Fowler and Nancy Nevison, respective Chairs of Gabriola Health Care Foundation and Health Care Auxilliary, will be presenting a joint proposal to the Chamber of Commerce, and would appreciate input from Gabriola Golf Club, 4-H, and any other island businesses or individuals who could provide skills, experience, or enthusiasm to ensure the success of this stellar opportunity.

Anyone interested in attending a preliminary meeting at the Auxilliary Village Office (next to the library) at 7:00 p.m. either next Tuesday or Wednesday (March 30 or 31), should e-mail Nancy at or call her home number: 247-0041 to indicate which evening you will be attending. Written suggestions will also be welcomed if you are unable to attend.

Balance, timing, commitment to excellence and lofty ambitions are necessary qualities for today’s world-class athletes – but it’s the undisputed respect of their peers, modesty and humanity that turns someone into a superstar. Rodrigo Pessoa fits the bill, so please come and share our “windfall” and return the favour by supporting this fantastic initiative in any way you can.

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Gabriola pushes ahead on health centre plan

Rachel Stern,, Nanaimo News Bulletin, January 29, 2010

The Gabriola Health Care Society is on an ambitious journey to raise $1 million by the end of the year.

The society named 2010 the Year of the Clinic and hopes to raise the money necessary to build a permanent health clinic on the island.

To accomplish that goal, the society has created a number of fundraisers. It also entered the Aviva Community Fund for a chance to win up to $250,000, but recently learned it missed out on the money.

Brenda Fowler, president of the society, said it was disappointing to not win, but the contest still gave the effort momentum and cohesion.

While raising $1 million is no small feat, Fowler said the society and its auxiliary are ready for the task.

“We’ve got to get this done. We might as well get all of the million,” said Fowler. “If you’re going to raise the million, there is no point doing it over five years. [You] might as well write your cheque today.”

The effort has already raised nearly $100,000, a big accomplishment so early in the campaign, said Fowler.

“It shows the length, breadth and depth of support from the community,” she said.

The owners of Folk Village donated empty office space, which members of the Gabriola Health Care Auxiliary used during the Aviva contest and as a base of operation for other fundraisers.

The last fundraiser, called Branching Out, featured leaves people could purchase through donations to win a katsura tree donated by Wild Rose Garden. It raised $45,000.

The society and auxiliary are planning at least 11 more fundraisers this year. A full schedule of dates and times is available online at

The next event is Feb. 10-21 at the Roxy. The event, Go for the Gold, celebrates the Olympics and provides an opportunity to watch different Olympic events, for a suggested donation of $5 to $10.

It also features a representative from Gold Parties Canada, who will assess and purchase gold chains, cufflinks or other items they want to sell. The company is donating 10 per cent of the purchased total sales.

On Feb. 14, the society is hosting Cupid’s Clinic from 7-11 p.m. at Dragon’s Lodge. There will be refreshments, appetizers, door prizes and music. Tickets are $25 and available at Artworks in Folklife Village or the society office.

People can also donate at any Mid-Island Co-op gas station by using the society’s Co-op number 611459.

The society hopes to host a large fundraiser on the August long weekend in the Haven Resort’s gardens. The event would feature the Gabriola Players, work written by Antony Holland and the Gabriola Island Singers.

“We’ll put all three together and have a Shakesperean afternoon with a play out in the garden,” said Nancy Nevison, chairwoman of the Gabriola Health Care Auxiliary.

She said the event isn’t finalized and is contingent on availability and further planning.

Anyone interested in volunteering, receiving tickets for events or more information can contact Nevison at 250-247-0041 or e-mail

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Health Care Auxiliary presents Cupid’s Clinic at Dragon’s Lodge

Brenda Fowler, Submitted Article, Gabriola Sounder, January 25, 2010

The Gabriola Health Care Auxiliary presents “Cupid’s Clinic”, a Valentine’s fundraiser, at Dragon’s Lodge on Sunday, February 14th from 7 to 11pm.

“We’ve got a really fun evening planned, and anticipate a sell out crowd to help us raise funds for our new medical clinic”, said Lisa Carter. “Daryl and Raylene Czuy, and Kerry and Susan Wiggins, owners of Dragon’s Lodge, have donated the use of the lodge, and we’re very thankful to them for their generous gesture”, she said. The Martini Foursome, (known as The Kerplunks to their youngest fans) will provide great music for the evening. Dinah D., member of the group added, “We are honored to be invited to play for the Cupid’s Clinic fundraiser and are hoping to see all Gabriolans out for such a worthy, and very necessary, cause.” Gourmet appetizers will be served and a cash bar for wine or beer will be available. Several door prizes will be given out throughout the evening, and a Valentine’s raffle is also underway featuring a Lindsay Stocking Godfrey necklace, a string of pearls and a Sylvie Milman bracelet. Raffle tickets are $5 and the winners will be announced at Dragon’s Lodge.

Cupid’s Clinic is one of several events planned throughout “2010 Year of the Clinic”. To find out more about donating, volunteering or other events visit the Village Office, Mon-Sat, from 10-2, beside the library. Tickets for Cupid’s Clinic are $25 and may be purchased at the Village Office or Artworks. All proceeds to the Gabriola Health Care Foundation (GHCF). The GHCF has raised over $150,000 to date, but will need to raise one million for a new clinic to be built and equipped to include three emergency care rooms. Please also visit for updates and the complete history. Donate 100 percent of your Co-op redeemable benefits directly by using the Foundation member #611459.

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Co-op number a popular way to donate to GHCS 611459

Brenda Fowler, Submitted Article, Gabriola Sounder, January 18, 2010

Gabriolans using the Gabriola Health Care Foundation Co-op member number have already made a difference. Since the beginning of January over 25 purchases have been made and 100 percent of the redeemable benefits are being accumulated by the Foundation.

It is as easy as 1, 2, 3! When you but anything (except phone cards and lotto tickets) at Mid Island C-op you can help our Health Care Foundation reach our goal of a million dollars.

Simply use the Foundation number when purchasing your products. Our number is easy to remember 611 459!

If you can't remember the number that is okay -- just look up from the pump -- our number is in the window. If you pay inside the staff all know the number and will be glad to help you.

Gabriola Health Care Foundation appreciates and thanks the mid Island Co-op for its long tradition of community support.

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2010 - Year of the Clinic, kicked off in packed Community Hall

Derek Kilbourn,, Gabriola Sounder, January 11, 2010

More than 200 people came out on Saturday afternoon to kick off 2010--Year of the Clinic, as the Gabriola Health Care Auxiliary hosted the opening event at the Community Hall on Saturday afternoon.

GEORGI GEORGIEVand Nancey Nevison with his custom-built power-assisted utility trike. Georgi will be donating the proceeds of the bik'e sale all $3,500 of it, to the Habriola Helath Care Foundation upon sale of the bike.
Derek Kilbourn photo

Booths, costumers, music and volunteers packed the upper floor of the hall showing off the various events which are planned as fundraisers for the Gabriola Health Care Foundation (GHCF) in 2010.

Nancy Nevison, chair of the auxiliary, said, “This has been terribly exciting. I think people have learned a lot about health care on the island and what we’re planning to do.

“We’ve also raised a lot of money today which helps, too.”

Nancy pointed out that while the Gabriola Health Care Society’s (GHCS) mission of building a new emergency and health care clinic on the island has been something well-known on the island before, the kickoff was able to show the variety of ways islanders can contribute, either financially or through volunteering, to the cause.

“These are ways you can contribute and volunteer for activities, so you don’t have to just write a cheque. We need volunteers for all sorts of activities. A lot of people signed up for events today and bought a leaf on the tree so it’s been pretty exciting.

CO-OP MAMAGER ALAN ANDRE with Brenda Flowler and Nancey Nevison, GHC Auxiliary Chair, showing off the CO-OP nummber, a partnership where purchasing goods at the CO-OP can use the GHCS CO-OP number to donate to the society.
Derek Kilbourn photo

“The thing that stands out for me is how many people have volunteered an hour or two and spent longer than they imagined looking at the booths saying, ‘Oh, I didn’t know you were doing this.’”

Nancy added, “It was exciting to see Cable Channel 4 was here. The piece is going to be on at 6pm on Tuesday night.”

With the target goal for clinic construction set at $1 million, a lot of small steps are going to be taken to reach it.

So far there are 11 events planned for 2010, with others waiting in the wings while organizers put the pieces together.

A key point, said Nancy is, “we have a real variety of functions coming up, something for every islander to participate in.

STARS LIKE JUNE SAVAGE will be out on the red carpet at the Roxy this March. Feel like you are mingling with the "stars" while watching the Oscars "live" from LA as one of the many fundraising events planned by the Health Care Auxiliary for the 2010 -- Year of the Clinic.
Derek Kilbourn photo

“I know we have some significant functions, and every day I get one or two emails or phone calls, asking, ‘Hey Nancy, can we do this?’

“Big or small, whatever the idea is, I’ll follow up on it.”

The most immediate date on the GHCS calendar is January 25th, when insurance company AVIVA will make it known how much funding has been set aside for the society as a finalist in the 2009 AVIVA competition.

On January 26th, there will be an open house at the GHCS office in the Village, including a draw for the katsura tree, which to date has $16,000 in donation leaves hanging from it.

Alan Andre, Manager at the Gabriola Co-op, explained why his business has decided to create a Co-op number for people to donate directly to GHCS, saying, “I see what they are doing as an organization is so professional, so effective, so exciting. It’s great for the Co-op, a community-oriented organization, to be associated. It’s helped us achieve our goals. We’re conscious of health care, and not always sure how we can participate, but here is a vehicle that will help us do that.”

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