Summerland to discuss health and wellness centre at UBCM Convention

Municipality and school board hope to identify partnership opportunities for proposed facility

Municipal council representatives hope to meet with provincial ministers at the Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention to discuss the creation of a community health and wellness centre.

The convention will be held in Vancouver from Sept. 23 to 27.

Council representatives hope to meet with ministers of education, health, municipal affairs and state for child care to identify the support and partnership opportunities for the proposed centre.

The municipality, along with the Okanagan Skaha School District, the Penticton Indian Band, the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen and the South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice want to sign an agreement in principle to begin the process of creating the Summerland Community Health and Wellness Centre.

READ ALSO: Province to bolster number of doctors and medical services in the South Okanagan

READ ALSO: New way to connect with South Okanagan-Similkameen family physicians

“The District of Summerland hopes to have positive meetings with a number of provincial ministries at UBCM later this month,” said Mayor Toni Boot. “An undertaking of this size is a multi-year project and will only be possible through continued collaboration with committed partners, which includes senior levels of government.”

At present, 12,000 people in Summerland and Penticton are without a family doctor and this number is expected to reach 22,000 people in three to five years.

Since January, the municipality has been working with health care professionals, including the South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice, to identify opportunities to partner on community health infrastructure.

The municipality and the school board say a collaborative approach is the best way to fulfill many needs.

“The Summerland Secondary Gymnasium is the School District’s top capital priority,” said Shelley Clarke, chair of the school board. “We are committed to exploring any options that will help us move forward with a new facility.”

In the past, the municipality and school district have worked together on projects including the skatepark, Centre Stage Theatre and the Summerland Aquatic Centre.

“We will be working with the District of Summerland to support their Community Wellness Centre initiative and explore further partnership opportunities as we move forward with our goal of replacing the current gymnasium,” Clarke said.

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