The City of Kenora has released a statement regarding their interest in divesting the Keewatin Medical Clinic.
The City of Kenora released a public Expression of Interest (EOI) document in April of 2022, expressing their desire to possibly divest the Keewatin Medical Clinic building. Early in the 2018-2022 term of Council, the City administration was directed to explore divestment opportunities of certain municipal properties.
The City is interested in divesting the properties that are considered vacant parcels of land or buildings that are not occupied by municipal staff. Said properties carry significant costs, require ongoing maintenance, and are considered an ongoing risk and liability to the City.
The City of Kenora originally took ownership of the Keewatin Medical Clinic property in 1985 when the original lease was executed between the Keewatin doctors of that time and the Town of Keewatin.
This is not the first time the fate of building ownership has come into question. City Council was in communications with the Keewatin Medical Clinic representatives and the Kenora Health Care Centre Board (KHCB) in an effort to have the KHCB take over as the landlord.
In their statement, the City said they “felt this was a natural fit and aligned well for all medical professionals in the community.”
Through their discussions, the City would have transferred ownership of the building to the KHCB for one dollar with the contingency that the facility would continue to function as a medical centre for Keewatin.
According to the release, the parties involved could not come to an agreement and all communications regarding the matter were discontinued.
Prior to the publication of the latest EOI document, the City says they approached the representatives of the Keewatin Medical Centre to discuss the potential of a direct sale of the building to the doctors of the clinic. According to the City, this idea was turned away by the doctors. The City says they informed the doctors that they would be proceeding with the public EOI.
The timeline of events has been disputed by the Keewatin Medical Clinic doctors. Dr. Joel Kroeker stood in front of the City Council at the most recent Committee of the Whole meeting and stated that doctors were only made aware of the possible divestment recently when a patient of the clinic brought it up to the doctors.
“Council and Administration for the City of Kenora have deep respect and admiration for the doctors at the Keewatin Medical Clinic and value the hard work of these doctors in our community. The potential sale of this building has nothing to do with supporting the medical community,” stated the City.
“To be abundantly clear, the City has not made a decision to divest this property. The City will review the proposals submitted and if a viable option exists, the City will meet with the doctors of the Keewatin Medical Clinic to discuss the option.”
The City has shared that they have two bids for the building and that they will be taking them into consideration.