Work with a consultant has begun to make the concept of a rural health hub reality.
The Town of Petrolia and Bluewater Health have put out over $500,000 to explore the idea of creating a centre which will care for seniors.
The plan could include housing ranging from independent living to nursing and palliative care with the services seniors need nearby.
The hope is the hub would be around the Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital and Central Lambton Family Health Team.
Officials from the town and hospital met with a consulting firm last week to begin to flesh out the concept. For three days Mayor John McCharles, Councillor Mary Pat Gleeson, CAO Manny Baron, Treasurer Rick Charlebois and the town’s citizen representative, Rosanne Orcutt, met with a consultant hired to prepare the plan, according to Orcutt. Some members of council also sat in on the meetings.
One meeting included local mayors who were given the details of the concept. “There were a lot of good ideas… that will be explored,” McCharles said Monday during the town council meeting.
Councillor Tim Brown added local mayors told him they were impressed by the concept.
Orcutt says there will be lots of work ahead, including an opportunity for the public to give ideas.
“The big thing coming up is arranging community workshops with area residents to get their input on the idea,” she says.
It’s not clear when that will happen but Orcutt says it is likely to happen before the spring.
Town and hospital officials are hopeful that by working together the provincial government will provide funding for the refurbishment of the hospital and possible support services for the health hub.
It’s anticipated the private sector would build any housing involved in the project.