ARTICLE BY SUE DICKENS – CENTRAL HASTINGS NEWS
MARMORA — The green light has been given by the Municipality of Marmora and Lake to pave the way for a ServiceOntario outlet at the local tourism centre, 9 Matthew St., after council approved a recommendation to sign a five-year contract with the government.
The decision was made at their council meeting on March 21
The contract is with the Ministry of Government Services.
Megan Abraham, manager of economic development and tourism — whose office is in the municipal tourism building at that location — told the Central Hastings News that, “We haven’t signed anything yet, but we had a site visit from ServiceOntario, and the visit was very positive.”
Abraham adds that the next step is for the government to provide the contract. “We fill in the key details and wait for their final approval.”
It’s been a long process which began following the closure of the former ServiceOntario site on Forsyth Street, where it was operated by an independent business.
“ServiceOntario did provide an opportunity for local business to put in an application to house a centre, and we received some applications, but the government didn’t feel the businesses that applied met the criteria they are looking for,” explained Abraham.
The list of requirements includes such items as accessible washrooms and an accessible front door, “which they really stress, and we have plenty of parking and can meet the hours they require.”
Mayor Terry Clemens talked about the ongoing plans to bring ServiceOntario back to Marmora.
“From a personal point of view, I don’t mind saying I would sooner see it in private enterprise; but if that’s not to be, the fact of life is the people of the community need a ServiceOntario office here.”
Mayor Clemens commented on the ServiceOntario site in Campbellford, which opened in April 2015. “I happened to use it myself. It is a well-run operation, a good operation.” It, too, is located in a municipal building — one owned by the Municipality of Trent Hills which houses the centre and the Trent Hills Chamber of Commerce.
“It will bring traffic to town and be a place for the public to get served,” said Mayor Clements.
The centre will provide all the services any other sites provide including driver’s licences, health cards, licence plates and so on.
Abraham offered her perspective on the need for the ServiceCentre in town.
“I think Marmora has taken a bit of a blow in the last couple of years. We lost our bank and lost our ServiceOntario site. I think it is incredibly important to keep that service in our community.”
She added, “We’re hoping it will open this summer. We want it to be operating as soon as possible.”
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health will be running a mumps booster clinic March 20th at the Marmora Medical Centre. You do not need to be a patient at the clinic to take advantage of this booster. Public health is recommending everyone born between 1970 – 1992 receive a second dose, as they likely only received one as a child.
The only people in this age bracket who should not get the mumps booster are pregnant women and those patients on immunosuppressive medications (for example, methotrexate, humira, prednisone) and those with immunosuppressive conditions (bone marrow transplant). Those patients rely on the rest of us to be immunized so they don’t get sick.
Marmora and Lake – The Municipality is excited to announce it will welcome a new doctor to the Marmora Medical Centre as part of the Central Hastings Family Health time within the next year.
Payman Charkhzarin, a resident medical student at the University of Ottawa, is the eleventh doctor to sign with Hastings County’s Family Physician Recruitment Program. The initiative provides financial incentives to doctors who agree to practice medicine in Hastings County for a minimum of five years.
“I am very excited to be coming back to Hastings County to begin my practice,” said Charkhzarin who did a placement in the area during his third year of studies. “I feel a strong connection to the area after my positive experiences here.”
Charkhzarin will finish his residency next year before settling in Marmora to practice family medicine alongside Dr. Melissa Holowaty.
Marmora and Lake lost one if its physicians, Dr. Anne Muscat, in 2015. For more than a year, Dr. Holowaty has been juggling a patient load of more than 2,000 people.
“We are so proud of Doctor Holowaty and thankful for everything she has done for the residents in our community,” said Mayor Terry Clemens. “We are thrilled with the news that Dr. Charkhzarin will be joining us next year and relieving some of Dr. Holowaty’s patient load.”
Charkhzarin visited the community in early January as the result of intense doctor recruitment efforts by the Marmora Medical Centre Advisory Committee.
“It’s a relief to know there is now an agreement in place for a new doctor to begin practicing here in the near future,” said Clemens.