Riverview Hospital is scheduled to close its doors next year.
What are the intentions of Premier Christy Clark and her BC Liberals? Are there any plans in the works for Riverview Hospital and its 244 priceless acres? You can almost bet the farm that it will be, "tear it down and build a residential development."
And will these valuable lands be sold off to the developer friends of the provincial government?
On July 4, I emailed Premier Clark (and have to give her full points for the speedy reply the next day). What was her reply? She passed it on down the line to Stephanie Cadieux, then the minister of labour, citizens' services, and (get this) open government. Well, we are now into October and there hasn't been a word, not even a peep from Ms. Cadieux and I believe she has been given a new portfolio. So, will I ever hear from her replacement on this delicate subject? I doubt it.
You may not be aware that the city of Coquitlam has applied to the Federal Government to have the Riverview Lands recognized as a National Historic Site. But the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (HSMBC) informed the city that the application could not be advanced because it isn't able to obtain approval from the landowners - namely, the B.C. government. The city had requested, unsuccessfully, a letter of endorsement well over a year ago.
The Riverview Horticultural Centre Society has an ongoing letter writing campaign in support of the city's application to have Riverview deemed a National Historic Site.
As a National Historic Site, Riverview could still serve the mentally ill, have a research centre, a conference centre, and a college/university, to focus not only on health care training but, also, on research into mental health treatments. In addition, its horticultural and architectural legacy could be a valued and valuable tourist attraction.
We should be taking a second look and consider fully utilizing our existing provincial mental health hospital. De-institutionalization is obviously not working.
Jenny Farley, Riverview Horticultural Centre Society