The RM of Ritchot council has killed plans to bring a doctor and pharmacist to the second floor of the Ile Des Chenes Community Centre.
By Marianne Curtis
In a move that has upset many people in the community of Ile des Chenes, the RM of Ritchot has shut down a plan that was expected to entice medical services into the town.
At a special meeting of council, the RM of Ritchot met to make a decision after the IDC Community Centre board came to council requesting an advance. The committee asked the municipality for an advance against future revenues in the amount of $169,000. The money was to be used to finish the 6,000 square foot second store at the town’s new community centre.
Council was told the committee had a commitment from a doctor who wanted to set up a medical clinic and a pharmacist. However in order for the tenants to move in, the entire second floor would have to be finished. The committee formally requested the municipality to consider an advance on revenue so the project could move ahead.
A few days later on July 20 council held a special meeting to discuss the matter. A motion to allow the IDC Community Centre Board to proceed with building a medical clinic on the second from with the municipality funding the costs was defeated unanimously.
RM of Ritchot reeve Bob Stefaniuk confirmed that his council shut down the board’s plans.
“They wanted the money quickly to finish off the upstairs; the assumption that it had something to do with another pharmacist is setting up in town,” Stefaniuk explained. “The profits would not have been what they expected – we didn’t see the payback in their proposal.”
Council then voted to block off the second floor to further use until a suitable tenant is found. A third resolution has council saying they would continue their search for suitable tenants and work with the board to pursue any leads that will result in filling the space and provide rent revenue.
However Stefaniuk denies that council will make the decision.
“It is up to the board what kind of businesses go in there; council is not in the business of making deals,” Stefaniuk continued. “If we handle this prudently we will have a facility that will serve us well into the future.”
Stefaniuk confirmed the municipality is blocking off the second floor.
“We want to see what happens in the future – this project is now in a holding pattern,” Stefaniuk concluded.
The $6.7 million IleDesChenesCommunity center was made possible with $2.77 million in federal funding through the Community Adjustment Fund and the Rural Municipality of Ritchot.
The new center includes a hall and a bilingual public daycare for 94 children. There is also office rental space, with a focus on bringing medical services to the community and surrounding area such as a medical doctor, pharmacy, dentist, and physiotherapist.