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Valleyview will close down at Riverview

Another building is closing at Riverview Hospital.  - TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO
Another building is closing at Riverview Hospital.
— image credit: TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO

Another building is closing at Riverview Hospital.

Valleyview is shutting its doors after housing geriatric psychiatry patients for nearly 50 years. It was built in 1959 and at its peak had 328 beds divided among six wards.

The province has been downsizing Valleyview for several years as part of its long-term redevelopment plans for the Riverview lands. The last patients were transferred starting in mid-October to facilities in the Fraser and Vancouver Coastal health authorities.

“Each patient was transferred with a full, documented care plan, which included all of their various social, psychological and family needs,” said an emailed statement from the Ministry of Health.

BC Housing will “lead the future use planning process” for Valleyview while Shared Services BC is in charge of the Riverview site as a whole.

“The province requires time to assess government interest in the [Riverview] lands and we will be considering and assessing all options to make sure they’re compatible with available space and existing programs,” the statement adds. “Local governments and all other Riverview lands stakeholders will be informed when a timeline for consultation and associated steps are established.”

In September, acting on a motion from Coun. Brent Asmundson, Coquitlam council called on the provincial government to build a new, larger Royal Columbian Hospital on the Riverview grounds. “We are the fastest growing area in the region... and Royal Columbian is difficult to get to,” he said.

Mayor Richard Stewart agreed, saying the current New Westminster site is constrained and the transportation improvements happening around Coquitlam make the 240 acres of provincially owned property at Riverview “a perfect location” for a medical facility.

“We are the largest community in the province without a hospital inside its boundaries,” he said.

spayne@tricitynews.com

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