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Health clinic poster hoax leads Esquimalt residents astray amid doc shortage

Developer dismayed by false information in posters telling residents to email council
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Lexi Development Group is notifying the public about false information circulating on a flyer about its proposal in Esquimalt. (Courtesy of Lexi Development Group/Facebook)

A developer that currently has a proposal before the Township of Esquimalt is alerting the public about posters falsely claiming people can register for the company’s would-be health clinic in its new building.

Lexi Development Group took to social media on Feb. 24 to say it was dismayed by the false information being circulated and implored the public not to heed the flyer’s instructions.

The posters, titled Family Doctor Clinic Opening Soon, call on people to register for the clinic by March 28 by contacting the township’s council email address, which is listed on the flyer.

The handout also tells people to put “Register me LEXI Health Clinic” in their email subject lines, stating the clinic isn’t limited to Esquimalt residents and asks the public to share the information with their friends and family.

“There is a possibility that the perpetrator seeks to sow discord and compromise the integrity of Lexi’s recent application with esteemed council members, potentially swaying outcomes in a negative direction,” the development company said in a Facebook post.

Lexi currently has a rezoning application before Esquimalt and the town’s council on Monday (Feb. 26) was presented with the latest plans for a 12-storey, 82-unit building at 899 Esquimalt Rd. Those plans include an on-site medical clinic.

Council received around 140 emails over the weekend from people requesting to be added to the clinic’s patient list, Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins said during Monday’s meeting.

“I just cannot express to you the harm and the hurt this hoax has caused to our community,” Desjardins said before Lexi’s application was considered.

Those trying to be linked up with a family doctor must do so by registering through B.C.’s Health Connect Registry, the mayor added.

“The need for a family doctor is, in our community, very real,” she said.

This hoax comes as the lack of family doctors has reached a crisis point, according to experts and Greater Victoria residents.

The community of Colwood has been without local family doctors since its only walk-in clinic closed in 2022, leaving 21,000 people scrambling. Only recently it was announced that the town would get a re-opened primary care clinic.

Current data indicate one in five British Columbians and 100,000 Greater Victoria residents lack a family doctor. Signs decrying the situation can be found on lawns all over the region. The issue has prompted rallies on the lawn of the BC legislature.

The developer said the poster appears to try to manipulate public perception and it intended to alert law enforcement about it.

“We extend our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused by this situation. It is important to note that Lexi Development Group bears no responsibility for these actions,” the developer’s Facebook post said.

The proposal receiving first, second and third readings was defeated due to a tie vote by council.

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