Re. “City, province at odds on Riverview” (The Tri-City News, Oct. 19).
As a Coquitlam resident and a registered psychologist at Riverview Hospital for more than 35 years, I continue to be appalled at the province’s new — should I say no — plans for Riverview.
As I drive home from Vancouver near Hastings and Main streets, I am still stunned that three years after Riverview closed, I recognize most of the people sitting there. Why are they there still? These people are mentally ill and many have an additional substance use/abuse problem. I know many of them because they were part of the Co-Occurrent Disorders Unit at Riverview, which was designed and implemented to treat clients with both a psychiatric disorder and substance abuse issue.
It was a steep learning curve but we brought in many speakers from Canada and the United States to help provide information and training.
All of us were sad when Riverview Hospital closed. To us, it made no sense. It still doesn’t. The problem shows up at Main and Hastings, and in increased deaths and suffering.
I live near the forest in Coquitlam while there are still many others living in the forest. On a recent walk by the river, I came across two individuals who were trying to live in torn pup tents. They were disheveled and frightened, and their legs were sticking out of the tent and were soaked.
I am really ashamed of the province I live in. We take away the homes and support and the expertise that are necessary to treat this unfortunate group. They each have names, personalities, quirks and a sense humour like all of us.
This cost should not be passed onto the city of Coquitlam. This land should not be developed. It has a world-class arboretum, pleasant walks and provides a corridor for animals to travel to the river. Many have fought valiantly to save this jewel of a property.
Proper care is one of our rights. So why are we suddenly having to break even to provide care to our most vulnerable, who cannot defend themselves. This is just plain wrong and, in my opinion, abusive and a horrific failure of our provincial government.
Helen MacIsaac, Coquitlam
The lack of facilities for the care of those with mental health and addiction problems is absolutely shocking. The provincial government and Fraser Health are remiss in this care.
Services available on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (safe injection sites, etc.) are not helpful, they are in fact enabling those with severe problems. How long the wait?
E. Chisholm, Coquitlam