Council is backing a plea by a private physiotherapy business for a reduced rental cost for space at one of Coast Mountain College’s buildings.
Total Physiotherapy now rents space from Northern Health’s Houston Health Centre but has to move because Northern Health wants the space to expand its services.
Total Physiotherapy owner Mike McAlonan said Coast Mountain College has space to rent but wants to charge what he calls “provincial rates” he believes are high for a small northern rural community.
“At these rates we cannot run our business providing the same services for the same costs,’ McAlonan stated in a July 24 letter to the District of Houston.
McAlonan said the college space available is larger than what Total Physio has now and would then mean being able to expand its operations.
“The proximity to the Houston Health Centre allows health services to remain more cohesive and allows the pain clinic to function effectively,” he wrote.
McAlonan told council a reduced rate might be possible “if we are able to make the case that our services are an essential part of primary care and that we contribute to the ‘health’ of the community”
In addition to health care, McAlonan said the business brings people to the community and so contributes to the economy.
There was little discussion by council in responding positively to McAlonan’s request for support at its Aug. 1 meeting other than to ensure that the District’s support is not financial or material in nature.
District of Houston chief administrative office Michael Dewar said the support letter would note Total Physiotherapy’s long-standing presence in the community and of the health care value it brings.
Coast Mountain College confirmed there have been discussions with Total Physiotherapy but that there was no mention of a reduced rate.
“As a private, for-profit business, they have been offered the option to lease the available space at the standard leasing rate plus utilities calculated on a per square foot basis,” said college communications official Heather Bastin.
The college now rents space to two parties — one being Northern Health at standard rates and the other being Houston Link to Learning.
“Houston Link to Learning, is a not-for-profit literacy organization that provides service access to the population of Houston and supports our mandate of accessible life-long learning. As a not-for-profit literacy and service organization, Houston Link to Learning receives a significantly discounted lease rate,” said Bastin.
The Houston and District Chamber of Commerce has also been approached by Total Physiotherapy for support in its bid for a reduced rate but a response is not yet know.