Health, proposed community hub for Smiths Falls

The Smiths Falls Health and Community Center took five years to build, and the vision for the project was recently shared with Smiths Falls council members.

On Monday evening, Michele Bellows, CEO of Rideau Community Health Services, appeared as a delegation to council on the proposed future health and community center for Smiths Falls.

“We see a vision and it’s really about how we can make our vision happen,” Bellows said.

During the committee’s full meeting, Bellows said Rideau Community Health Services is seeking council’s support to work with city staff to further explore opportunities and possibly develop a report for city council. and the Community Health Services Board.

Over the years, many potential spaces for the proposed hub have been considered.

“We see spaces and we see spaces disappear,” Bellows said, adding that they were working with the Department of Health.

“We recognize that there are other possible opportunities. Today we are looking specifically at the land surrounding the Highland Corbett Park area.

According to Bellows, the city had already conducted community consultation in the proposed area and hoped to have the opportunity to explore the possibility of using the land as a site for the hub.

The concept of the site is to create a space for the hub of approximately 30,000 to 40,000 square feet.

The vision is to create a space in Smiths Falls for community, health and social services with the help of agencies and the community coming together to co-design a community space “that is both welcoming and empowering.” sharing programs and services,” Bellows said.

The proposed hub would potentially provide indoor and outdoor spaces for the community, such as a community kitchen, recreation space, community gardens and other green spaces, and would offer other programs and services that would be offered under a family approach.

In addition, the hope of the uis health and community hub is to improve equity of access to services and improve the overall experience of clients with the various services and health and well-being, according to the presentation. of the delegation.

“We believe that by bringing people together and working with our communities, we will strengthen communities,” Bellows said, adding that they will develop programs and services for the community while providing a safe space for young people and adults. adults in the region.

The idea of ​​the Smiths Falls Health and Community Hub is not new to the council.

“I think it’s a great idea. I don’t think it’s one that we weren’t aware of, but it’s definitely one that I think is going to be wonderful,” said Coun. Lorraine Allen .

“This is a very exciting opportunity, but I think where it’s most significant is what benefit it would bring to people in our community and probably the community at large as well,” said the Mayor Shawn Pankow.

Com. Jay Brennan said the council is willing to work on this goal with Rideau Community Health Services.

Rideau Community Health Services is working with a variety of different and local partner organizations in the health and social service sectors for the proposed health and community center, Bellows said.

(Jessica Munro is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works for the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)