Seven new doctors are setting up practice in Cochrane, and that's a step forward in replacing the ones we've lost in recent years.

Mayor Jeff Genung said the town and Cochrane and District Chamber of Commerce have been collaborating in assisting and welcoming the doctors to the community and thanking them for choosing Cochrane. Local medical clinics and Alberta Health Services are also assisting.

With a widespread doctor shortage in the province outside of its major centres, some communities are providing financial incentives to attract doctors. That's not the case in Cochrane. After studying the matter, the town was not convinced it needed to play that card.

"Is a $10,000 grant or a $50,000 grant from our community going to change the minds of a physician looking to locate somewhere? It may. but from the general scheme of things, people are already wanting to move to Cochrane, and that includes physicians."

Genung says while it's exciting news, he knows we require more doctors, and the mission is not complete.

"The thing that troubles me is even if we replace the number that we lost, the new docs are practicing in different ways and maybe not taking on the patient loads that former physicians did, so we may have to replace more than we lost just to get back to zero. It's a work in progress, but this is a really good early win."

He says the town's economic development will continue to promote Cochrane as a destination.

Genung praises the Cochrane and District Chamber of Commerce for their assistance.

Chamber executive director Kelly Carson says they jumped at the opportunity to provide welcome packages filled with unique locally made products.

"It displays the amazing talent in Cochrane, we're going to present those to the doctors when they're good and ready for them. I know that there are more doctors on the way, and they're working through that, and I hope we can continue to go down that path."

Carson says the new doctors he has met are thrilled to be here.

"I've had an opportunity to meet a couple of them and they're so smart and so up-to-date on everything. The first thing they said is we love it here."

"We wanted to be a part of welcoming them and letting them know anything they need to know from a business standpoint."

He says they're taking on a similar role to assist the town's economic development department in helping those wanting to establish businesses here.

"We'll either put a package together in conjunction with our visitor centre or a completely different business-related package that we can give to anybody who wants to start a new business in our town and welcome them."