A new Community Health Centre satellite site will be opening in Limoges next spring. It will serve the rapidly growing population of young, mostly Francophone families moving to Limoges.

The Centre de santé communautaire de l’Estrie medical clinic will provide a bilingual service to patients so that they don’t have to travel to other communities to receive health care.

On October 13, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne visited Limoges to announce that the new community health centre would be receiving $425,000 in recurring annual funding.

Small communities like Limoges, with fewer than 30,000 residents, are home to almost 25 per cent of Ontario’s population. Community hubs are intended to ensure that these small, mostly rural communities have access to multiple health-care services under one roof.

The satellite site is part of a community hub and is a collaborative project between local and private-sector partners. The clinic, at 601 Limoges Road is being built by Saint-Joseph Developments Incorporated. One floor of the building will be dedicated to the Centre de santé communautaire de l’Estrie. Additional space will be rented to healthcare professionals and to a pharmacy. Construction is expected to be completed by next spring. The new facility is expected to generate more than 25 new jobs.

The Nation Municipality’s chief administrative officer Mary McCuaig told The Review that numerous doctors, dentists, physiotherapists and a podiatrist have expressed interest in renting space at the location, which she said will serve the vital needs of the community. “It’s just a matter now of tightening up the tenant agreements,” said McCuaig.

The announcement comes after more than five years of lobbying by The Nation Municipality, which has been working closely with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) to develop its economic development plan and to provide more services to residents.

In 2015, The Nation presented a document titled “Economic Development Impact in the Nation Municipality and Community Benefits for Limoges and surrounding communities.” This document cited the need to increase services for residents and emphasized the need for more bilingual services.

“In a recent study conducted by the United Counties of Prescott and Russell, Limoges is identified as one of the communities within the counties which are expected to experience a significant increase of young families, in comparison to other communities in the eastern part of the United Counties where they are experiencing a decrease,” said the report, which said that an increasing number of these new residents are Francophone.

McCuaig accredits the surge in growth to location. Limoges is located less than 20 minutes away from downtown Ottawa and the community offers real estate that is significantly cheaper than in Ottawa.

In 2001, Limoges had a population that hovered at around 1,500 residents. Between 2003 and 2004, the Nation Municipality installed new water and sewer lines in Limoges, which enabled the construction of new housing developments.

“At the beginning, we were getting more than 100 building permits each year in that sector. It’s slowing down a bit now due to the need for more water and sewer lines,” said McCuaig. She confirmed that the population in Limoges is now between 3,500 and 3,800 people and that the population is mostly composed of young professionals and families. 

“It’s a trend in rural communities to attract seniors and to struggle to bring in families. Many people are retiring to small villages. Limoges is not that. We have young professionals coming in and it is changing our needs. We need a grocery store and more services,” said McCuaig.

The Nation municipality is in the process of establishing a new park in Limoges that will be constructed in partnership with a private developer.

The municipality has also announced plans to sell its share of Saint-Viateur Catholic Elementary School in Limoges and to build a new community centre that it says will better serve residents.

The municipality currently co-owns Saint-Viateur Catholic Elementary School with the Conseil scolaire de district catholique de l’Est ontarien (CSDCEO) school board. As a co-owner, the municipality has access to the school gym, which can be used for community events. The public library is also located in the school.

McCuaig said that the location of the library has proven to be successful, but the gymnasium simply does not fill the needs of residents.