December 11, 2023

Burnaby’s Metrotown Urgent and Primary Care Centre at 4555 Kingsway will open its doors ‘close to fully staffed’ on Nov. 1, says health minister.

A building that once housed an office supply store and then a never-opened seafood restaurant has been transformed into a new health-care centre to serve the more than 15,000 people in Burnaby’s Metrotown area who don’t have a family doctor.

Metrotown residents who don’t have a primary care physician or who need treatment for issues like minor cuts, burns and sprains will soon be able to walk in to the new Metrotown Urgent and Primary Care Centre at 4555 Kingsway – without a referral.

The Fraser Health Authority has spent nearly $4.4 million renovating the 696-square-metre space, creating two consultation rooms, six exam rooms, one group therapy and education room, a assessment room as well as offices and collaborative workspaces, according to information presented at a news conference Friday.

Starting Nov. 1, urgent medical care at the facility will be available from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Primary care will be available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday once all staff have been hired.

$5M annual operating costs

Once it’s fully staffed, the centre will have about 23.2 full-time-equivalent health-care workers, including family doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, clinical counsellors and clinical pharmacists.

Health Minister Adrian Dix, who was in Burnaby for a ribbon cutting at the centre, said 18 of the health-care workers have already been hired, and the facility will be “close to fully staffed” when it opens the day after Halloween.

The annual operating cost of the centre will about $5 million, he said.

This is Burnaby’s second urgent and primary care centre.

The Edmonds Urgent and Primary Care Centre opened at 7315 Edmonds St. in the fall of 2019.

Legal battle

The building that houses the new Metrotown health-care centre was the focus of a legal dispute between by Peninsula Seafood, a former tenant, and Bosa-owned Central Park Developments Ltd.

Central Park, which owns the property, had cancelled Peninsula Seafood’s lease because the restaurant had been “persistently late” with rent payments, according to court documents.

But Peninsula, which never opened, said it had already sunk $2 million in renovations into the building and petitioned B.C. Supreme Court to order Central Park to keep the lease in place.

But Justice George Macintosh denied that petition largely because Fraser Health had already signed a 10-year lease for the property.

Peninsula appealed Macintosh’s decision and applied to the BC Court of Appeal for an injunction preventing Central Park from readying the seafood restaurant for Fraser Health.

The appeals court declined to issue the injunction, saying Central Park had already scheduled construction and could be liable to Fraser Health if the premises weren’t ready on schedule.

Under pressure

Fraser Health, meanwhile, was under pressure from the provincial government to finish the centre or open an interim one somewhere else, according to the court’s March 1, 2021 ruling.

“Fraser Health contends that if the injunction is granted, it will still be required to comply with that deadline, putting it in an untenable situation,” states the ruling. “If the premises are not ready on time, Fraser Health could be required to take on a less suitable temporary space, resulting in obligations under two leases, as well as the cost of building out two urgent and primary care clinics in different locations.”

By March 2021, Fraser Health had been looking for two years to find a place in Metrotown for an urgent and primary care clinic to serve “over 15,000 people in the area without a primary care physician,” according to the ruling.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor

Email [email protected]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *