WHEREAS the lack of adequate treatment and housing for those suffering from serious or severe
mental illness is a reality experienced province wide, resulting in a less efficient system, with
unacceptably poor outcomes for the most needy citizens of BC, as well as severe financial and social
burdens on local communities;
AND WHEREAS the Riverview facilities and grounds have a proven history of providing a very
suitable environment for such treatment and housing, with much of the necessary infrastructure
already in place:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the provincial government immediately begin to undertake
all necessary action, including funding, to reinstate Riverview as a modern centre of excellence for
mental health care and support.
ENDORSED BY THE LOWER MAINLAND LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION
UBCM RESOLUTIONS COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION: No Recommendation
UBCM RESOLUTIONS COMMITTEE COMMENTS:
The Resolutions Committee advises that the UBCM membership has not previously considered a resolution that specifically requested that the provincial government reinstate Riverview as a patient-centred, wrap around care modern centre of excellence for mental health care and support.
However, UBCM members have consistently endorsed resolutions calling on the provincial government to
provide adequate support services for mental health patients.
Endorsed as Amended (amendment in Bold red )
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the provincial government immediately begin to undertake all necessary action, including funding, to reinstate Riverview as a patient-centred, wrap around care modern centre of excellence for mental health care and support.
Followed quickly by:
Civic politicians demand Provincial Government re-open Riverview
UPDATES: Premier says Riverview Hospital won’t be reopened
The Tri-City News: Premier rejects UBCM call to reopen Riverview
[ Sold to the highest bidder who pads the party coffers no doubt. More interested in replacing a tunnel with a ( Guaranteed to be a toll ) bridge, the "Rusty Clark bridge" typical. ]
B.C. mayors call for a return to facilities like Riverview to treat mental illness
Lack of mental-health care in B.C. is immoral. [ That last word that should be very familiar to our premier ]
Reopen Riverview, says mental health agency
Some Opposition from "professionals" : Reopening of Riverview Hospital not the answer
Written by the CEO of the BC section of the Canadian Mental Health Association, (CMHA)
and Marina Morrow, Associate Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences at SFU.
[ Typical writtings from two people who live in glass palaces away from the trenches. ]
A letter to the editor...
Re: Riverview Hospital
Save these poor tormented souls who reside on our streets. They are without stability.
If these people with problems were put on a schedule of eating, sleeping and taking their medications, they would improve greatly. They need proper supervision. Riverview can provide that salvation for them.
Ruth Enns, Vancouver
Riverview renewal needed
I was disappointed when the premier announced the Massey bridge project, negating the dire need to look into the Riverview Hospital situation.
Wasn’t it closed because the government felt people shouldn’t be institutionalized? Face facts. Some poor souls are incapable of managing their medications, diets and general well-being.
I’m hoping Christy Clark will rethink the decision and put our tax dollars toward the greater need of addressing the mental-health situation in our province.
Marilyn Adrian, Langley
Monday, Sept. 23: Mentally ill deserve better care Numerous letters to the Vancouver Sun.
Wednesday, Sept. 25:
Premier douses Riverview plan; Mayors' Vote To Turn Hospital Site Into Mental Health Centre Nixed.
And a nice letter to the Maple Ridge News: No public outcry over Riverview closing
[ the writer brings up some very good points in the letter ]
Riverview was an asset also from the Maple Ridge News, written by a former forensic worker.
A news video discussion: WATCH: Should Riverview be reopened?
The Burke Mountain Naturalists, (BMN) prepared a handout for the delegates, volunteers went down to Vancouver, but were hindered by security, and turned away. :(
But Mae Reid, Coquitlam councillor heard of the plight and decided to print up 2,000 copies of the letter below and personally place them on the delegates seats in the venue. Apparently the resolution will be voted on this Thursday sometime; I will update this post when the resolution is voted on.
To: Delegates at the UBCM Conference, September 2013
Please support the restoration of mental health care to Riverview!
The 99 hectare Riverview Hospital grounds contain a number of significant heritage buildings in a graciously designed landscape with a world class collection of trees. First opened in 1913 to serve the needs of the mentally ill of the province (and originally called Essondale), the site has now matured into a stunning park-like setting which instills a sense of peace, tranquility and closeness to nature. Last year when the hospital finally closed after decades of community service, the Heritage Canada Foundation placed Riverview in the Top Ten Endangered Heritage Sites in Canada.
But Riverview contains far more than a few magnificent heritage buildings. Some of its buildings are more contemporary and could be readily made available for patient care. For example, the Valleyview facility, which closed in late 2011, opened in 1959 and in many respects has all the features of hospitals of that era, most of which are still in use throughout BC. Originally designed for over 300 patients, if re-opened, Valleyview could comfortably provide 150 beds for mental health care. Other residential buildings such as Brookside and Leeside were recently used for over a year to provide 40 beds for dual-diagnosed patients when overcrowding at the Willingdon facility in Burnaby presented challenges in 2011. The Centre Lawn building, opened in 1924 for 300 patients, was also used for health care as recently as 2011 and could be made available with little effort. The North Lawn building, opened in 1955, remains available for patients from the nearby Forensic Psychiatric facility should flooding require its evacuation. The Henry Esson Young Building, originally designed as a nursing school in 1957, contains 100 bedrooms as well as classrooms, a library and auditoriums. Thus, it offers space for teaching and recreation as well as residential care. The Coast Mental Health Foundation currently uses a number of cottages on site for their patients. Staff at the Coast Mental Health Foundation frequently comment on the therapeutic value of Riverview’s grounds for their patients.
The West Lawn building, which opened in 1913, was closed in 1983 during a period of government austerity. That it remains standing after 30 years of utter neglect is a testament to its sound and innovative (at the time) construction. Unfortunately, this building now has vegetation growing on it and it is typically featured in news coverage. Yet, in no way do the remainder of the buildings at Riverview share similar conditions or state of neglect. The movie industry continues to use a number of buildings at Riverview including the magnificent Art Deco-style Crease Clinic.
Riverview is well situated in the lower mainland to serve patients, having close connections to the Lougheed and TransCanada Highways as well as public transit. Volunteers continue to maintain Finnie’s Garden which was originally designed as special place that patients could call their own. Unfortunately, the provincial government has, for the most part, stopped landscaping services at Riverview. As a result, the lawns have become overgrown and volunteer tree seedlings are now several feet in height and threaten the integrity of the tree collection. In addition, the lawn areas have become a hazard for walking and a fire risk during dry weather.
The needs of the mentally-ill should be addressed through the health care system. While the development of modern drugs has resulted in some remarkable resolutions to mental health care problems, not all such problems can be fixed by the simple writing of a prescription. Some patients will continue to need stable, longer-term care in a facility such as Riverview Hospital. Too often what they get instead is overnight confinement in a jail cell.
We are also facing another tsunami of mental health care as the baby boomers approach the age of declining health. Predictions are that the number of people suffering from dementia will soon increase dramatically. Eventually all such people will require long term care for, at least, a few years. Riverview Hospital, with its spiritually-uplifting and pastoral grounds, would be an ideal site to provide longer term care facilities for older patients with diminishing abilities.
Produced by the Burke Mountain Naturalists in Coquitlam who for many years have worked in partnership with the Riverview Horticultural Centre Society and other community partners to enhance public awareness of the value and potential of the Riverview site. For more information about Riverview, see our report “The Riverview Hospital Site, Respecting its Past, Realizing its Future” available on our website