Frustrations mounting on Shelburne Medical Clinic project

Published on March 17, 2014

By Amy Woolvett

The clock keeps ticking and the price continues to climb along with many frustrations surrounding a community project.

The Shelburne Medical Clinic expansion and upgrade has been fraught with delays, funding shortages and design issues.  Three years later, there is still no ground breaking in sight.

“We moved into this temporary office two years ago,” said Doctor John Keeler.  He and his staff moved to share a small office space at Dr. Mark Riley’s practice.  It was meant to be for a year while the clinic underwent major renovations.

And still the clinic has yet to see anything done to it today.

The project had stalled as they realized more work was needed than originally anticipated.

The Municipality of Shelburne stepped in recently to provide a good chunk of the missing budget so renovations could go forward.

Site manager Jody Ybarra said they have now hit another snag.

“After the pre-tender figures came back we realized the amount was higher than anticipated,” she said.

The board needs to get together once again to discuss what can be cut to shave down the cost of the clinic.  It is anticipated they will meet in three weeks time.  When the district health authority have repeatedly said in the months leading up to the additional funds given by the MoS, that there were no places they could cut in the project.

“We are already practicing out of a tight space,” said Dr. Keeler.  There are three physicians, a nurse and office support staff using a space designed for one physician.

Keeler said things are just going to get worse as new doctors begin arriving this summer.  As well, Dr. Keeler is to begin a two-year residency-teaching program in partnership with Dalhousie.

Ybarra said the project most likely will not begin in time.

Dr. Keeler is already eying alternative spaces to fit the expanding health care team.

The project still needs to go through some hoops through the province because the project tips over $1-million.

Department of Health and Wellness representative, Tony Kiritsis said they have requested information from the district health authority that has not been returned.

But Ybarra said that information couldn’t be submitted until a final plan fitting the budget has been etched out.