A group dedicated to improving dental care is sinking its teeth into reaching that goal.
The Community Dental Access Centre Society will proceed with construction of an expanded clinic although the required funds haven’t been raised yet.
“We hope construction will begin within the first week or two of January,” said Chris Turner, project co-manager.
“This is huge. We’re finally there.”
The existing rented space at 3107C 31st Ave. will be renovated to allow for four dental chairs.
Construction will take about three months.
The entire project cost is $450,000, with $340,000 already in place through donations from residents, medical and dental professionals, businesses, service groups, the Interior Health Authority and foundations.
Support also came from the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust.
Fundraising for the remaining $110,000 will continue.
“We do have some potential funders we’re anticipating,” said Turner.
“The fact that we’re starting construction will give confidence to people that the project is going ahead and they will want to get on board.”
The society wants to help the 30 per cent of local residents who can’t afford to go to a dentist. Presently, there are 400 children and adults on a wait list.
“We are going to a preventative program,” said Turner of the link between poor dental hygiene and disease, chronic pain and overall poor health.
“We will be able to stop the cycle of rampant health decay and have a healthier community.”
It’s also hoped that improved dental care will increase self-esteem among people and allow them to pursue other life-altering activities like finding employment.
“If you have an unsightly mouth, it’s difficult to get a job,” said Turner.
“The program will help improve employment.”
For more information, call Turner at 250-308-4613 or Lesley McMillan at 250-308-7163, or go to www.communitydentalaccess.ca.