Medical services finally coming to Queensborough

Rob Dhasi has just opened Queensborough’s first stand-alone pharmacy, and he’s helping establish the area’s first medical clinic next door. - MARIO BARTEL/NEWSLEADER
Rob Dhasi has just opened Queensborough’s first stand-alone pharmacy, and he’s helping establish the area’s first medical clinic next door.

When businesses come before the Queensborough Residents Association looking to get a letter of support rarely does everyone agree to give it.

But when Rob Dhasi came seeking the community’s backing for a pharmacy on Ewen Avenue, and potentially a medical clinic to go with it, he had no trouble getting unanimous support. That’s because the area—even though the population combined with the Hamilton neighbourhood of East Richmond is about 12,000—has been devoid of medical services.

“To get full support for a business was quite surprising; it was a big shock,” said Gavin Palmer, association president.

“As the population here is exploding, and is still doing so, there’s a definite need.”

Dhasi had been working at the Wal-Mart pharmacy at Queensborough Landing but wanted to venture out on his own. When he discovered there was no independent pharmacy in the area, particularly on the south side of Highway 91 where most of the residents are, he saw an opportunity.

“I felt like it was a secret area, no one knows about it,” said Dhasi. “No one services on this side, and I thought it would be a good opportunity.

When he discovered there were also no doctors in the area he realized there was an even bigger opportunity. He told the Queensborough and Hamilton residents associations, “I’ll find the doctors, I just need your support.”

What he found was Viva Care, which has several clinics around the Lower Mainland. Viva plans to open later this year in the same building as Dhasi’s Queensborough Community Pharmacy, which opened its doors for the first time this week.

“We were quite surprised to learn that some place so close, just a heartbeat away from Surrey or Burnaby or Vancouver, was devoid of practitioners,” said Viva Care co-founder Dr. Garry Saran, who had assumed since the area is part of the Lower Mainland there were doctors practising there. “We just shook our heads and said absolutely we’ll do it.”

Saran said construction of the clinic will begin within the next four to six weeks, with an opening in July or early August. It will be made up mostly of family practitioners, some that may cater to walk-ins. He said depending on the community needs, an internist or a cardiologist could also be made available to the clinic.

Palmer said the services will be particularly beneficial to seniors because many of them have had to move to be close to doctors. Soon they’ll have an option instead of having to go across the Queensborough Bridge, which is often backed up, or into Richmond.

Although most residents shop at Queensborough Landing, with several developments under construction, Palmer believes the under-served area will need more services such as banks and coffee shops in the future.

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