“We’re ecstatic,” said Shirley Racine in the skeleton of what will soon be the Limoges community health centre.

Racine is the president of the volunteer committee working to bring the centre to the village—a project that’s been five and a half years in the making.

Last year, Kathleen Wynne announced the province would provide $425,000 in yearly funding for the health hub.

On Friday morning, The Nation made the official announcement it was giving $60,000 towards the committee’s fundraiser to buy medical equipment and furnish the centre.

‘No-brainer to support’

“To have some sway when it comes to government, we wanted to put money on the table,” said Racine.

Hence the fundraiser.

“We wanted to that show our community is engaged,” she said.

The target is $170,000, and with the municipality’s donation, the total raised is now at $105,000. That money will be given to Centre de Santé Communautaire de l’Estrie (CSCE), a major partner in the project.

“When it comes time to sign papers,” said Marc Bisson, CSCE’s executive director, “when a community contributes like this, it makes a big difference.”

“It’s easy to support such a hardworking group of volunteers,” said Francis Brière, councillor for Ward 4. “From a municipal standpoint, this was a no-brainer for us to support it… These people don’t grow on trees and they have to be thanked and commended.”

Left to right: Étienne Grandmaître Saint-Pierre, manager of CSCE’s sites in Bourget and Limoges; Councillor Francis Brière; Mayor François St. Amour; Marc Bisson, executive director of CSCE; Shirley Racine, president of of Limoges health hub volunteer committee, François and Rachel Sigouin, president and treasurer of the Limoges citizens committee. (Photo: Francis Tessier-Burns).

One-stop shop

The centre will house a dentist, eight confirmed doctors, a pharmacy, a psychologist, and other services such as a podiatrist, dietician and chiropractor.

The centre will only be open 21 hours a week, but has the option to expand hours, according to Bisson.

Patients losing their doctors to retirement, as happened in Russell, is one of the examples the volunteer committee identified five years when looking at what was needed in the area.

According to Racine, there are already 800 people on the list of patients once doctors arrive to the centre.

Offering French services was also a priority.

Half of the eight doctors will be bilingual, as well as those offering mental health services, among others.

Bisson also mentioned the new sports dome approved for the town and how it would help promote healthy living.

“More and more, professionals are prescribing activities rather than medication,” he said.

The current plan is to have the dentist office open in mid-July, the pharmacy in mid-August, and the community health centre in late-August or early-September.

Finally, the eight doctors will arrive beginning in September until March next year.

Racine said she met an 80-year old resident of Limoges who said she was excited to be able to walk to the new centre for all her medical needs.

“When you hear stories like that,” said Racine, “you say ‘We hit it. We really hit it.’ And we’re going to be able to keep our people at home.”