Re. “Mental health facility, commercial district are in works for Riverview” (The Tri-City News, Dec. 18) and “Housing CEO: R’view will be model for health care (Jan. 8).
Riverview was acquired in 1904 and was dedicated to the health care needs of the people of B.C. In turn, the patients, staff and general public worked hard over many generations to make the site a wonderful sanctuary for those who needed a safe, caring environment, knowing that it was theirs.
Portions of the property were sold in 1984 and are now a large housing development uphill of the remaining hospital site. Numerous governments always reaffirmed the dedication of the property to health care in its many facets.
Now, it appears that we have a provincial government that seeks to undo all the hard work that went into making Riverview the sanctuary that it is and sell off more of it again, further diminishing the healing aspects of the site.
What the present government is proposing is being cruel to those who put their hearts and souls into the site. Few people would know that many of the buildings were also built with patient labour.
Patients also cleared, farmed, landscaped and maintained the site.
I went to the open houses and it was very apparent at the last open houses that the focus had radically changed. All of a sudden, there was talk of developing and selling the lands, using a few very ill-prepared “planners” as speaking guests who obviously knew very little about the site and its long history of caring.
The final report presented recently is a slap in the face to the many members of the public who participated in the planning exercise; it was filled with half-truths and outright fabrications of the evidence that was documented in other reports and certainly did not summarize the majority of the public’s feelings toward the site.
This property should be kept entirely in public hands and continue to provide a sanctuary dedicated to the health of those who need it, as was always intended.
Niall Williams, Coquitlam