The South Riverdale Community Centre has met another unexpected roadblock – this time from St. Michael’s Hospital.
Hospital threatens Riverdale Health Clinic
By Art Moses Seven News, May 24, 1975
Without any advance notice to most community groups or political representatives, St. Michael’s has moved its “Broadview Community Health Clinic” from Broadview near Gerrard to the old Loblaws building at Queen E. and Strange.
The new location is within a stone’s throw from the proposed site for the South Riverdale project. THE MOVE MEANS ALMOST CERTAIN GOVERNMENT REJECTION OF THE South Riverdale community controlled health centre – unless St. Michael’s endorses the community effort.
Hospital officials are currently evasive whether they will co-operate with the community-controlled centre.
“Co-operation is a broad term,” St. Michael’s chief administrator Sister Mary said in an interview. “It isn’t clear to us what these people mean by co-operation.”
“We didn’t mean to tread on anybody’s toes,” Sister Mary claimed. “I feel bad if that is the impression... But many people in the community support our move and it seems that it’s only a very small group behind this other centre.”
Sister Mary explained her failure to consult the South Riverdale organizing group before deciding to move to Queen St.: “I guess we didn’t know for sure about them.”
Anna Fraser of the South Riverdale Site Office, which has been helping the organizing group, said: “We talked to St. Michael’s two months ago. They knew all about our plans and didn’t tell us of theirs.”
Sister Mary suggested St. Michael’s didn't know about the move to Queen St. when approached by the community group.
She agreed to meet again when the South Riverdale group on May 21, the same day the Broadview Clinic re-opens on Queen Street. Although she was evasive about endorsing the South Riverdale project, she said “I think many clinics are needed... I hope our going there doesn’t preclude them from getting it.”
South Riverdale organizers fear the provincial government will refuse to fund their centre if they think it will duplicate services given by St. Michael’s. Their proposed site was the old post office building at Queen and Saulter. Health Ministry officials have indicated the location is unacceptable unless South Riverdale is actively co-operating with St. Michael’s.
Last month the Health Ministry suspended its community clinic programs apparently under pressure from key members of the medical profession. Three weeks later the program was continued for groups already operating and for others which had already begun negotiating with the Ministry. Any new proposals must wait until the Ministry devises a method of evaluating the community centres.
Ward 7 already has one community clinic operating under the program. The Don Area Community Health Centre has been working successfully west of the Don since September.
The clinic is controlled by a board of directors elected by community residents. South Riverdale organizers plan the same structure, with a health centre easily accessible to people who need it, delivering services and preventive medical care in a relaxed, open atmosphere.
Whether the South Riverdale Centre gets going is now clearly up to St. Michael’s Hospital. Ward 8 Alderman Fred Beavis sits on the St. Mike’s board of Governors.
This article was published in Seven News, Volume 5, Number 24, May 24, 1975