Kenora City Council apologized and offered a solution to the Keewatin Medical Clinic situation.
After weeks of uncertainty for the doctors of the Keewatin Medical Clinic (KMC), Kenora City Council has come to a conclusion on the fate of the building that houses the practice.
The City of Kenora released a public Expression of Interest (EOI) document in April of 2022, expressing their desire to possibly divest the KMC building, it later gained public interest in early June through social media posts and a deputation from the KMC doctors.
The City stated they wished to divest this property, among others, because said properties carry significant costs, require ongoing maintenance, and are considered an ongoing risk and liability to the City.
Following the public outcry, the City released further details behind the complex history they had with the KMC property. The City previously tried to have the Kenora Health Care Centre Board take over as the landlord, but that deal did not go through. The City has also said they have approached the representatives of the KMC to discuss the potential of a direct sale of the building to the doctors.
After the deputation was made by the KMC doctors, the City of Kenora revealed that they had two bids on the property and that they would be taking them into consideration.
Kenora City Council met for a Council Meeting on Tuesday, June 21, and in their discussions, came to a conclusion as to who will own the property.
CAO for the City of Kenora, Kyle Attanasio, shared details of the two bids that Council had received following the EOI process, “Ultimately, the EOI process closed on June 2, 2022, and we received two bids. One from Lake of the Woods District Hospital and another from Titan Partners Ltd.”
“Three members of City administration formed an evaluation panel and we reviewed those proposals. After reviewing those proposals, we once again did not see a fit that matched both the needs of the doctors and the needs of the City. So ultimately, we have determined that the process will stop there – there is no viable option in City administration's position to continue to move forward.”
Attanasio went on to recommend that Council decline both offers and furthermore, retain ownership of the property for the time being and commence negotiations with the doctors of the KMC.
Councillor and acting Mayor through this meeting, Sharon Smith, went on to have Council vote on the issue of retaining ownership of the property – for which Council passed. The City of Kenora will continue to retain ownership of the building and will enter lease negotiations with eth representatives of the KMC at a later time.
Smith continued to add her thoughts on the situation, “I know throughout this file, we probably could have done a better job communicating [with the public], with the doctors also – lesson learned for Council.”
“I personally as a Councillor, would like to apologize to the community for the upset and consternation that this process has caused, and I apologize to the doctors for that too. I have learned much through this process so going forward, we are going to do a better job in our communication and we are going to work closely with the doctors to rebuild that relationship with the medical community.”
“We are in a healthcare crisis all across this province but particularly in northwestern Ontario. Supporting our doctors and medical professionals is a priority for us.”
As of the time this article is being written, no follow-up has been made by the doctors of the KMC.