By Mark Squibb / September 8, 2023
The provincial government earlier this week announced that a travelling orthopaedics program that began in St. Anthony will be expanding to Carbonear General Hospital, a move government hopes will help address surgical backlogs.
Carbonear Mayor Frank Butt says the announcement is good news not just for the town, but for the region, and he hopes the move shortens wait times for people waiting for surgeries.
But besides the obvious medical benefits, Butt hopes the news will produce some positive economic spin off for the town.
In particular, Butt said the announcement may be the impetus for developers to finally consider Carbonear as a viable town for a hotel.
“If someone comes in now and gets a hip replacement and they have to stay a couple of days at the hospital, their loved ones are going to come and visit them,” said Butt. “Right now, finding a place to stay is a bit of a chore. And maybe this will attract investors to build a hotel.”
A hotel is something that members of council and residents alike have been clamouring for years. Carbonear did have a motel for decades, Fong’s Motel, but that closed in October 2020.
In 2017, the excitement in the air was palatable when an Ontario couple announced their intentions to build a luxury, ocean-front hotel in Crocker’s Cove. But plans for the hotel fell through shortly after, though Crockers Cove remains a pretty spot to this day.
The provincial government, meanwhile, expects that surgeons travelling to Carbonear will be able to complete about 150 orthopaedic surgeries on an annual basis.