By Olivia Timm 
TRENTON – Applause filled the Quinte West council chambers Thursday morning as Paul Huras, chief executive officer of the Southeast Local Health Integration Network , announced the approval of Catherine Street as home to the new Trenton Health Hub.
The hub is meant to act as a common area for patients to access health-care information and services at one location.
“We want this to be a service that is going to meet the needs of the population, and meet the needs in a unique way that there are different organizations coming together and working together,” Huras said.
Among the community organizations that will be available in the hub are the Belleville and Quinte West Community Health Centre , addictions and mental health services, the Trenton Victorian Order of Nurses  and Quinte Health Care.
“This is going to be a very important step to improve access to health care in this particular community,” Huras said.
Several places throughout Ontario are already providing one location to access several health services, according to Huras, but the Trenton hub will do more than just offer services under one roof.
“What we see as one of the bigger pictures of health care today is that services aren’t integrated, that organizations aren’t working close to other organizations to help the needs of patients.”
The Southeast Local Health Integration Network – one of 14 in the province that fund, manage and plan health care at the regional and local levels – serves Hastings and Prince Edward counties. When it began discussing the potential for the hub with community partners, Huras said, the partners immediately said, “We don’t want to be just co-located; we want to work together in a systematic way so that patients don’t have to go through processes to get from one component of care to another.”
Almost all the funding comes from the provincial government, he said. The total cost of the project has not yet been determined.
The Catherine Street site, which is across the street from Trenton Memorial Hospital , will be provided by Quinte Health Care, which owns the land.
Construction costs for the health-hub building will be covered by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Huras said.
Before construction takes place, the land has to undergo an environmental cleanup because there are contaminants in the soil. although Huras said they are not overly serious. “What we’ve been told is they are not volatile – they are not moving,” he said.
The city of Quinte West has agreed to remove and dispose of the contaminated soil, replacing it with good soil.
Quinte West Mayor Jim Harrison said he’s happy the project is moving forward.
“We are doing our best and we are working together … and that’s the way you move things ahead,” Harrison said.
Brad Harrington, vice-president of Quinte Health Care, was at Thursday’s announcement and said: “QHC is extremely pleased that we now have a decision regarding a site and that will allow the process to move forward.”
As for when construction will begin, Huras said it is hard to know an exact timeline since the health ministry tends to have several capital projects on the go – big and small.
“I would hope that in the spring, you start seeing action on the site.”