CORNWALL – With an ambitious time line and the entrepreneurial fire in his belly, Daniel Gauthier is giving Cornwall’s former hospital a medical makeover.
The COO of Ottawa-based Green Soldiers Inc. is in the process of building a one-stop-shop for all things medical and wellness, be it medical doctors, a 24/7 walk-in clinic, naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, plastic surgery and day surgery.
But what Gauthier lacks in manpower at this point – it’s only him and employee Tyler Taillon working on building upgrades and repairs – he makes up for in ambition and vision.
“We have a lot of market studies that say that there’s long term care requirements. That’s one thing. And the overall aging population…the baby boomers (serving their medical and wellness needs) are basically where we’re coming from,” Gauthier told Cornwall Newswatch.
With Gauthier’s company – Green Soldiers Inc. – being a renewable and green energy manufacturer, some would see a health care facility as a project outside his wheelhouse. But Gauthier says with his technical and mechanical savvy, he saw a great investment opportunity. “It was an investment opportunity for us that was basically a no-brainer. It’s a very simple business concept.” The idea was given to him by a health care professional, who had wanted to buy the building for a long time.
The 45-year-old entrepreneur says moving doctors from their offices into the building at 510 Second Street East is not going to solve the problem of medical and service shortages. He envisions medical professionals from outside the area – such as Alexandria, Hawkesbury, Ottawa, and Montreal – coming to Cornwall for a few days a week to do specialized treatments.
“I don’t want to take the clinic that’s on Fourth Street and move it here so I can get rent,” he said.
Putting different medicinal and non-medicinal practices under one roof could be a challenge as professionals from different fields don’t always see eye to eye. But working with up to 100,000 square feet on the first floor, Gauthier is confident he can make it happen by strategically placing different professionals in certain areas of the building. “Let’s put our egos away and let’s do something for the people. Let’s all work together for once.”
For the other floors of the former Cornwall General Hospital site, Gauthier sees retirement living and long term care beds.
But what services does the community need? Gauthier says that’s where the public comes in.
“We are going to make Cornwall a hub. A hub where the patients can meet the doctors where there’s a niche market. Right now we’re working on analyzing the market. We’re looking for public feedback. I need people to tell what services they need,” he said.
Gauthier is encourging people in Cornwall and SD&G to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or to contact him through the website, which went online Tuesday. The address is www.cornwallhealthcareandwellnesscenter.ca
He wants to see the facility running in six months. “We will be moving toward the largest health care and wellness center in Ontario. Within one year we should be there.”
Right now, Gauthier says they are talking to long term care providers, laboratories and pharmacies. “A lot of people are interested. But right now I need to know what the people (the public) needs. We need to look at the demand and we plan things out.”