News Local

Renovations at CEE could begin in next two years

By Melissa Schilz, Postmedia Network

A Master Plan that has been in the works throughout the year is scheduled to be submitted to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and Erie St. Clair LHIN Board this January, says Laurie Zimmer, VP of Operations for Bluewater Health.

She said part of their presentation will be sharing how they engaged the community in the process, offering unique insight into new approaches in rural healthcare.

“This has been able to forge a whole new design on health service delivery to those people according to their needs, especially as an aging population,” Zimmer said. “We will continue to keep the community informed…it is a lengthy process.”

The latest open house for Petrolia’s Health Care Village revealed a plan that includes rough timelines for when residents will start to see renovations and construction.

In phase one, Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital’s emergency department is set to undergo works in the next two and a half years. Phase two will see construction of a new addition for the emergency room, a new main entrance and lobby place in five to 10 years.

This past spring, Bluewater Health was awarded a $7.5 million from the ministry to begin pre-capital works around master planning for the hospital. Zimmer said their time frame will see them apply this money to works over the next two and a half to five years.

She said the first works will see internal renovations to the emergency department, the diagnostic imaging department, the front entrance and improving some of the streetscapes for accessibility.

“That all leads into the longer term upgrades that need to happen and new building that needs to happen in the next 20 to 25 years,” she said.

Zimmer said the emergency department was built a number of years ago, with the aim of servicing 7000 patients, this number has increase dramatically.

“Now we see in the same building, we see around 22,000 visits,” she said.

Zimmer said the progress made shows major support for Petrolia’s hospital, which was once under threat of closure.

“It does really sustain the building and the hospital as a whole for the next 50 years,” she said. “There will be a viable hospital to support those residents in the area.”

Focusing on urban planning has helped to develop a vision around prevention and health promotion in Petrolia, meaning future plans go beyond just the hospital but also a community of wellness.

“I think we’re seen as a very unique institution from a hospital perspective as well as from a community perspective,” she said. “I think the ministry and other rural sites are looking to us to see how this is all going to play out.”