by Mary P Brooke ~ West Shore Voice News
[Updated October 29, 2018 – 3:15 pm]
Friday, October 26, 2018 ~ SOOKE. Within a purchase of the Evergreen Shopping Centre in Sooke comes the news of an expanded medical services facility. The dual-news announcement came in two parts today, October 26.
The prospect of an expanded medical clinic for Sooke was announced by Premier John Horgan (MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca which includes Sooke) today while announcing a new urgent primary care centre in Langford.
It was confirmed this evening by West Shore Voice News that Skyline Retail REIT has purchased Evergreen Shopping Centre. Public notice was given to mall tenants on Wednesday night (October 24).
The development potential of the mall had been promoted by previous owner Partners REIT (September 1, 2011 to October 24, 2018), in particular the frontage onto Sooke Road (Highway 14) where a fire in July 2013 took down the oldest section of the 40-year-old mall (built in 1978 and redeveloped in 2010).
The mall was purchased by Skyline Retail REIT as part of a nine-property acquisition totaling approximately $50 million. The other eight properties are in and around Winnipeg, Edmonton, Kelowna and Grand Prairie.
About 10 physicians currently operate out of the West Coast Family Medical Clinic at the busy mall located at 6660 Sooke Road in Sooke town centre. It has not been confirmed whether the existing space at end-unit #1300-6660 Sooke Road will be expanded or whether a new building will be constructed on the frontage portion of the mall property.
The Evergreen Shopping Centre in total presently offers 72,105 sq ft leasing area with a mix of tenants. Anchor tenants are Western Foods, Shoppers Drug Mart and a BC Liquor Store, along with smaller retail outlets for pet supplies, electronics, clothing, dollar store, insurance and fast food.
There is already a medical lab service in the Evergreen mall, but the only X-ray lab in town (with limited capacity in terms of equipment and hours of operation) is located a few blocks away at the corner of Sooke Road and Murray Road (Otter Point Road). A new primary care facility will likely offer a new updated X-ray service.
Expansion of primary care facilities in BC is an undertaking of the NDP government under Premier John Horgan. Today in Langford, Health Minister Adrian Dix said the capacity for another five physicians will be added in Sooke by March 31, 2019, bringing the total doctor count there to 15.
Dix says it was found that 750,000 people in BC have been without a primary care physician. About one in 83 people on Vancouver Island are not attached to a family doctor, said Marko Peljhan, Executive Director, Geography 4, Integrated Health Services, Island Health.
The new Westshore Urgent Primary Care Centre in Langford will absorb about 5,300 new patients, said Premier Horgan today in Langford. Island Health says 30,000 people are without a primary care physician in the broader west shore area (Langford, Colwood, Sooke, Highlands, View Royal, and out to Port Renfrew), with 15,000 of those being in the Langford area.
Doctors brought into new primary care centres and expanded centres are “net new” to the system, said Dix. “We’re adding doctors to existing networks,” he said in a response to media.
Related article: New Urgent Primary Care Centre in Langford to open November 5, 2018