Locals turned out in droves to officially open the Crystal Brook Medical Clinic on Wednesday morning – but the thought of a healthier community was not the only cause for celebration.
Nine young people from local not-for-profit organisation yourtown worked on the renovation project, which saw the old ANZ Bank building in Bowman Street refitted into a clinic and accommodation for visiting doctors.
Of the nine who worked on the seven month project, four went on to gain employment in a boost for the region.
Yourtown’s southern area manager Michael Starr said the not-for-profit Enterprises program gave young people paid work, vocational skills and training that helped them prepare for open employment.
“The seven month project was a complete refurbishment of the building, starting with an empty shell of the external brick walls, iron roof and concrete floors,” Mr Starr said.
“Work included the timber framing of internal partition walls, ceilings and framing for external facades, replacing doorways with fire rated doors, replacing all windows, external steel portal frames external and internal linings, tiling, painting throughout, and the manufacture and installation of the kitchenette, reception counters and storage cupboards.”
Twenty-five-year-old local yourtown worker Brodie Long said the project helped to set him up for future employment opportunities.
“I learnt heaps on the project, like how to use power tools, painting, roofing and rendering,” Brodie said.
“The best thing about the project was always doing new tasks on the job and working with the team.
“I’m keen to do any kind of outdoor work.”
Yourtown project manager Matt Coates said he was impressed with the level of commitment the team showed and what they learnt during the project.
“In addition to practical skills, I saw the team develop greatly improved self-confidence, communication skills and of course team work, and a notable pride in their work,” Mr Coates said.
Former visiting gastroenterologist of over 30 years, Dr Geoffrey Gibson, jointly opened the new facility with local specialist Dr Alice Bennett.
Crystal Brook Medical Practice partner, Dr Richard Mackinnon, praised Dr Gibson for his service to the Crystal Brook and Mid North communities during his long career.
Dr Mackinnon said the new facility had already benefited other business owners in Crystal Brook.
“Because we have visiting specialists who will be operating from down here (the Bowman Street practice) … it brings in people from around the region,” Dr Mackinnon said.
“What we’ve found in that even in the first two weeks that we have been operating the bakery, the IGA and so forth have all reported increased customers.
“It is great for the town.
“We’re very proud and very pleased that we can be offering greater services to the community.”
As the community mingled on Bowman Street and considered the immediate and future positive impacts of the new clinic, Crystal Brook local and Port Pirie Regional Council Cr Neville Wilson summed up the sentiments of many.
As he strode up the freshly concreted ramp of the new clinic, a smile grew across his face.
“It’s a great day for the Brook,” he said.