Doctors of the local family health team are planning to remain in their Virgil office until the new Crossroads Medical Centre is completed.
Their future location has been up in the air, and a concern to patients, since it became apparent the start date for construction on the Line 2 construction was facing considerable delay.
Anthony Annunziata, owner of the Niagara Medical Centre, and Mary Keith, executive director of the Niagara North Family Health Team which includes the Niagara-on-the-Lake doctors, have both announced the signing of a lease for the Virgil offices.
“We have extended our lease to a point that should allow the new centre to be completed,” said Keith, adding they have signed a two-year extension.
Construction has been stalled by appeals to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, from those who don’t think the location on Line 2 at Niagara Stone Road is the right site. The Town approved rezoning and an official plan amendment, but there have been two appeals, one by a neighbouring property owner who believes problems with storm water management have not been resolved, and another by Annunziata, who said the Town did not satisfy the criteria for rezoning, including that more commercial property was required. To him, it is clear rezoning the property for commercial use was not necessary, he said, since his building, on a site ready and waiting for expansion, would be able to accommodate all the NOTL doctors.
Annunziata said the LPAT case management conference, which could set a date for the appeal to be heard, will be held May 21 in the Simpson Room of the community centre.
He’s pleased with the doctors’ decision to remain in his building for now — he couldn’t reveal the date of the lease extension without their approval, he said — and also happy that Sean Simpson has signed a five-year lease for Simpson’s Pharmasave.
He said the leases will allow him to “kick-start” his expansion project, which he hopes may convince the doctors, or at least some of them, to stay permanently.
“I will certainly work to provide stability and provide service” for the doctors at the medical clinic, he said.
He is making space to attract a medical laboratory, which has been missed in town since the one in the former hospital building left, he added, hoping to bring a lab in “right now.”
The location of the family health team doctors who now have offices at the former NOTL Hospital, a building now owned by the town, is still up in the air.
Town council must have a discussion about what they want to do with the building, said Lord Mayor Betty Disero.
She expected that to happen Monday evening, in a closed-door meeting, but due to the lateness of the hour, the council meeting was set to resume Saturday for unfinished business on this week’s agenda, including the incamera session.
Disero said she would like to see the doctors be able to stay there until they can relocate to a new permanent home, but that will be a decision of council.
Cutline: The lease for doctors’ offices at the Niagara Medical Centre has been extended until the Crossroads Medical Centre is completed, said Mary Keith, executive director of the Niagara North Family Health Team. (Photo supplied)