Review of Riverview vision to start next year

Minister mum on next steps but said plan is to take another look at the Renewing Riverview document

A two-year-old document that sketched out a vision for the Riverview Hospital lands in Coquitlam will be up for review in the new year.

But the minister responsible for housing — who's also a local MLA — won’t predict what changes, if any, there will be.

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“It’s a place to start. I don’t know that that’s the place to end,” Coquitlam-Maillardville MLA Selina Robinson said about the Renewing Riverview document that itself was the result of a lengthy review process.

The NDP government has committed to keeping the lands public and to create a campus of care with more services for British Columbians. But that vision doesn’t jibe with the Renewing Riverview document that stated that some market housing would be required to defray costs and ensure a break-even mandate for redevelopment efforts.

Since the document was revealed, issues such as affordable housing and opioid overdoses have become more prominent.

Robinson promised that reviewing possibilities for the property is “front of mind,”

“I’m the MLA, I know the constituents want it addressed.”

As minister of municipal affairs and housing, Robinson is responsible for BC Housing, the agency that was responsible for the Renewing Riverview process and has now entered into the master planning phase for the redevelopment of the 244-acre former provincial mental hospital site.

While she wouldn’t speculate on the process for reviewing the vision created under the BC Liberal government, or what steps will be taken next on the file, Robinson said there is a sense of urgency to come up with a plan and that support for mental health and addiction will be one of the key drivers in the review.

“I don’t want to jump ahead. Right now, I need to talk about it with the minister of mental health and addictions,” she said, noting that she and Judy Darcy will be working together on deciding the next steps for planning, and the two recently took a tour of the property.

She said the aim is for the future plan to fit with the platform commitment Premier John Horgan announced during the May provincial election campaign and was recently re-announced at a groundbreaking for a Centre for Mental Health and Addictions on the site.

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