A new medical centre will open for business in Port Alberni on Monday, Feb. 27. The new clinic will see five doctors, a pharmacy and LifeLabs move into the new building on Maple Way, beside Evitt Electric in North Port.
Doctors Marc Puts and Damian White are opening the building, which will also include Drs. Izak Nel and Daniel Van Der Merwe from the Alberni Family Medical Clinic and Dr. Gregory DePape. The doctors are moving from other locations within the Alberni Valley; they are not new to the community.
Neither of the owners were available for comment before the News went to press.
The Medicine Shoppe owner Larry Johannessen will open a second location in the medical centre around the end of March. Having a pharmacy in a medical centre shared by several doctors is a preferable, he said.
“You can collaborate with the doctors more closely, which they really like,” he said.
Not only is the pharmacy handy to medical staff, but it’s more convenient for patients too, he added.
Johannessen opened The Medicine Shoppe on Southgate Road five years ago, but he has been a pharmacist in the Alberni Valley for 21 years, with Shoppers Drug Mart and Safeway before opening his own pharmacy.
Johannessen already has one part-time pharmacist and is looking for more staff for his second location.
LifeLabs will also be moving from its present location on Wallace Street to the new centre, a company spokesperson said. The lab will offer the same services it does now, but it will be in a new building.
“We’re moving from constrained space of under 400 square feet to just under 1,000 square feet,” Mitchell Toker said. “It will be twice the size.”
LifeLabs is scheduled to open April 16, Toker added.
The 7,800-square-foot medical centre is the first major commercial project in Port Alberni for general contractors West Beaufort Construction.
While the doctors will be moving in next week, construction will continue at the end of the building where the pharmacy and lab will be.
Contractor Tanya Swann—she owns West Beaufort with her husband, Matthew—said construction will not disrupt operations at the clinic.
The company broke ground for the new clinic on July 8.
The timber featured on the building’s exterior is wood from Western Forest Products, and the contractors made sure to use local labour on the project.
Matthew Swann worked with Salt Spring Island architect Derek Crawford Architect Inc. in designing the building.
(Edited for spelling: Dr. Izak Nel.)