Medical Centre announced

July 26, 2012   

Ground was broken late last week at the site of what is being hailed as an innovative and collaborative solution to the region’s doctor shortage.

Dubbed the Medical Centre at The Boardwalk, the 80,000-square-foot, four-storey building has the capacity for 20 to 25 family doctors.

It is also designed to house integrated medical experts such as a pharmacy, laboratory, medical imaging specialists and other clinics.

Currently, about 20,000 residents in the Region of Waterloo do not have access to a family doctor, and business experts believe the centre will go a long way to reducing that number.

“This will be a great tool for recruiting doctors and solving that shortage,” said Ian McLean, president and CEO of the Greater Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce at the building’s groundbreaking last Thursday.

The building will be located at the north end of The Boardwalk’s 36-hectare commercial complex that straddles the boundary between Kitchener and Waterloo.

Dr. John Sehl, a family physician with 20 years of experience in the region, said it has been designed as a one-stop shop for patients.

“The in-house services will allow doctors to spend more time with their patients, and lead to faster results by having specialists in the same building,” Sehl said, noting it could also help doctors by providing an opportunity for them to foster business relationships with other doctors and to develop a personal support network.

The $20-million Medical Centre is being built by Melloul Blamey Construction and should employ 800 people, serving 40,000 to 50,000 patients annually, said Greg Voisin, the president of Voisin Developments, the developer of the complex.

Voisin told the crowd of more than 200 people that they initially intended to erect an office building at the site, but after discussions with local business experts they decided to develop the medical facility instead.

This is the first building of its type that the company has designed, and in an interview after the groundbreaking ceremony Voisin said they would be open to building more, should future demand warrant it.

“We’ll see how this one goes first,” he said with a smile.

Roger Farwell, the former chair of the Greater KW Chamber of Commerce, noted the province has named Waterloo Region as one of its “places to grow” with the population expected to balloon up to 750,000 in the coming years.

The continued development of buildings that cater to the needs of doctors and specialists alike is critical in achieving that goal, he said.

He said the chamber reshaped its doctor recruitment strategy in 2005, helping to cut the shortage from 40,000 people without doctors to 20,000 today, and the new facility will continue that work.

“This facility will serve those that are already here, those that are coming and it will help recruit more doctors,” said Farwell.

“This is a turning point for us.”

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