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This article was published 27/9/2010 (2402 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A new centre that combines health care and social services -- as well as the headquarters for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority -- was heralded Monday as a key to turning around the Main Street strip.
About 640 people, including 160 WRHA administrators, have now moved into the $30-million, 80,000-square-foot structure at Main Street and Logan Avenue, once the site of a pair of shutdown movie theatres.
On Monday, provincial and WRHA officials officially opened the third of five planned Community Access Centres in the bottom two floors of the building. Downtown residents will now have access to a wide variety of health and social services -- including a clinic, public health, community mental health, midwifery, a dental clinic, Child and Family Services staff, and employment and income assistance, etc. -- under one roof.
Family Services and Consumer Affairs Minister Gord Mackintosh said the new centre could play an important role in the area's revival and ensure that "Main Street once again enjoys glory days."
Also playing a role will be the redevelopment of the Bell Hotel just north of the centre, the new United Way complex under construction at Main and Alexander, and the Youth for Christ centre at Higgins, he said.
"I think we'll see development of more private sector support services for all those who work here," Mackintosh said.
Réal Cloutier, the WRHA's chief operating officer, said it's important for downtown residents to be able to access a variety of services in one place. "One thing I hear over and over from staff is that the clients who need services, if they come with health care needs, they have social service needs and vice versa," he said.
The WRHA is leasing the space from a private developer. It invested $6.6 million in building improvements.
Brian Bechtel, executive director of the Main Street Project, said what he likes about the new Access centre -- and the new workers it is bringing to Main Street -- is that it is not displacing local residents. Instead, it's catering to them by providing necessary services.