With the approval of a government grant, Sun Peaks may soon have a building for its medical clinic, slated to open as early as the fall of 2012.
The Sun Peaks council recently applied for a Towns for Tomorrow grant that could provide an additional $400,000. This amount is needed to build a permanent home for the municipality’s existing health clinic.
For the last 11 years, the community has been raising funds for a building as its existing health centre currently operates out of a trailer. The Sun Peaks Health Association has over $400,000 in donated funds in reserve and will help fund the building.
The new building will be 4,300 sq. ft. with two levels. The ground floor will be completed in the first phase and will cost $1.1 million. The second level of the building will be finished during the second phase, which will cost an additional $600,000.
“It will be designed so that x-ray facilities could be built,” said Mayor Al Raine. “At some point it will make sense to have an x-ray machine here.”
Additional fundraising activities will be held to cover the cost, said Raine, noting the overall price tag is around $1.7 million.
The future clinic will be built near the entrance of the resort, in between Bento’s Lodge and the Sun Peaks Alpine Club.
Currently, the Sun Peaks Health Clinic is open two hours per day, seven days a week in the winter and two days a week for the rest of the year. It’s run with the help of volunteer physicians and trained support staff. Services similar to a walk-in facility such as suturing, stabilizing fractures and hospital referrals are available at the clinic.
The clinic also works in conjunction with the Sun Peaks Ski Patrol, Sun Peaks Fire and Rescue and the Emergency Medical Response Team to provide emergency and patient care in the resort.
Raine said once the permanent clinic opens, he hopes extended hours can be offered and available medical services can be consolidated in one place. He also hopes a full time physician will be enticed to start general practice in Sun Peaks once facilities are in place.
Ski trauma and accidents are currently attended at the Bento’s Lodge facility while walk-in medical services are offered at the trailer office. All of these will be performed in the new permanent facility.
Marg Kosolofski, a registered nurse who’s also a Sun Peaks Health Association board member and current Sun Peaks Health Clinic manager, says people need to realize services won’t be that much different from what’s currently offered.
“We’ll transfer into the building and continue to operate the way we are,” said Kosolofski, with the hope that a new multi-disciplinary building would attract increased interest from the medical community.
Because the clinic will not include a surgical suite, serious injuries will be stabilized on the mountain as is standard practice, but will eventually be transferred to the Royal Inland Hospital for follow up care. This means a 45-minute wait time for an ambulance to take the patient to Kamloops may still apply.
The biggest improvement?
“If it was absolutely to completion it would be to provide increased hours of care, additional adjuncts to health care and education seminars such as CPR. When radiology is in place we could identify specific injuries. We would also have the ability to clear c-spine injuries, perhaps eliminating an unnecessary trip to Kamloops and impacting RIH’s Emergency Department, allowing people to stay at the mountain,” said Kosolofski.
A reply regarding the Towns for Tomorrow grant application is expected by the end of March.
To contact the clinic, go to www.sunpeakshealth.com or call 250-578-2014.