Sun Peaks recruits its first full-time doctor after 2-year search

Dr. Shane Barclay has been recruited to work as the new medical director of the Sun Peaks Health Centre. He had been working as a doctor on Vancouver Island and most recently lived in Kamloops.

Shane Barclay will take on the role of medical director when the new Sun Peaks Health Centre opens

The Sun Peaks Health Centre is in the same building as the ski patrol facilities. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

Sun Peaks Resort Municipality is getting a full-time doctor.

Dr. Shane Barclay has just been recruited to work as the medical director of the new Sun Peaks Health Centre, which recently completed construction and is set to open next month.

"This is a really big day for Sun Peaks," said the municipality's mayor, Al Raine.

The community started looking actively for a full-time doctor two years ago when it became clear the new facility would be built.

Raine said community members are excited that a doctor will be coming on a full-time basis. He said Sun Peaks has more seniors and families with young children than average, which results in a higher demand for medical services.

For the past 15 years, doctors from nearby Kamloops have been driving into the community to provide care for people on a limited basis.

The current centre is operating out of a trailer and is open two hours a day, six days a week in the winter and offers even fewer hours in the summer.

Barclay had been working as a physician on Vancouver Island and most recently lived in Kamloops.

'Flexible' care needed in the community

Sun Peaks Resort vice president and general manager Darcy Alexander said the resort will work with the community to provide better health care.

Its volunteer ski patrol team works in the same building at the health centre. If needed, they will work with the doctors at the centre as well as share space and services.

"We're trying to provide these services in our small community and you need to be flexible, you need to share ... because you just don't have the resources," said Alexander.

Dr. Shane Barclay will be joined in January by another part-time doctor, Dr. Harpreet Kelly.

Alexander believes more people will be recruited to the community as it grows.

"There will be more full-time doctors because it's an attractive community to live in," he said.

Construction started on the health centre's new building at the end of 2016.

The project was paid for through a $837,675 contribution from Sun Peaks Resort, $588,000 from the municipality, $500,000 from the Sun Peaks Health Association and a $117,000 federal gas tax grant from the Thompson Nicola Regional District.