Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Riverview UBCM resolution

The Union of British Columbia Municipalities , (UBCM) are having their annual town Parliament, and one of the resolutions is directed at Riverview.


B121       REINSTATING RIVERVIEW         Maple Ridge

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.
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.

 Past Resolutions

 (  2012-B37, 2011-B61, 2010-B42, 2008-A1, 2008-B51, 2006-B50, 2006-B51, 2006-B153 ).

And the Answer Is:

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 NewsPremier 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

Another Letter:
 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?

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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.

 BMN Handout

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 

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Also heard over the grapevine: Apparently the Royal Columbian Hospital is looking at expanding, and some rough estimates have been made, to expand at its present location will cost around 750 million, and to build new at Riverview would cost somewhere around 500 million, I  struggle to think that there is that much difference, but I could easily see 100+ million in price difference, which is still significant, saving more money for actual services. The Royal Columbian many years ago outgrew its present site, and I was always surprised that with all the development that has been allowed to occur in the area, why they were not knocking at the gate a long time ago.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

September MMXIII

Demolition by neglect’ at Riverview: Nicholson

Lively discussion about autism:   I know it’s happened to someone else

See yew at Treefest !

Grass keeps growing at Riverview,  Organizers of treefest upset about lack of landscaping at site

 Almost time to look into having the staff involved charged with neglecting their duties. i.e. they are supposed to work for US, to protect and enhance OUR asset, something that is obviously not occurring on the site at this time.

B.C. not ready to create mental institution.
     Vancouver mayor, police chief say alarming trend of violent citizen attacks constitutes a crisis

Pressure builds on B.C. to update and reopen Riverview mental hospital

Some Riverview hospital buildings could be adapted quickly to modern mental health care; Coquitlam councillor says newer building, used until hospital closed in 2012 are in reasonable shape, while older buildings are wrecks.

Global News video clip  Includes a short interview with Craig Hodge, Coquitlam City councillor, and a few shots of a treefest walk with Doug Justice.  starts at 9:35 minutes in

A few panoramic photos on Panoramio of a few of the buildings on the site.
And some pictures of Treefest, at the Treefest Blog

At this time the only bus is the 169  download the ROUTE map, the full SCHEDULE, apparently NO service on the weekends, the nearest bus stop in this case would be on the Lougheed Highway, near where Como Lake Avenue crosses it. A long walk from there to the far end of the property or Colony Farm.
The bus starts/ends its runs at  Braid Station, (PDF)  and Coquitlam Central Station, (PDF)

Save the Riverview Hospital lands

The Riverview Hospital lands, are under pressure to be developed into market housing. Help to save the lands as a healing sanctuary for the mentally ill of OUR Province.

Please join the Riverview Horticultural Centre Society,( RHCS ) Facebook page. Twitter too!

Please sign the On-line petition or download a Word document petition ,which is a more official type of petition.
Blogs, about the hospital grounds
Mike Farnworth,MLA; Facebook forum " Protect the Riverview Lands"
And another Facebook group: Riverview Preservation Society
this group also has a petition to sign.

Click-able Map of the Riverview site

BISCO -- Brookside-Leeside-Roadside -- Centre Lawn -- Colony Farm
Crease Clinic -- East Lawn -- Essondale Hospital
Finnie's Garden -- Henry Esson Young -- Hillside unit
Home for the Aged-Valleyview -- North Lawn
Nurses homes -- Pennington Hall -- TreeFest -- West Lawn
John Davidson; "Botany John" blog. He was the first Provincial Botanist, who created British Columbia's first Botanical Garden at Riverview.
Other groups involved Riverview Horticultural Centre Society
Who also have a media NEWS Blog
You can also download a 42 page report titled, For the future of Riverview created by the Riverview Task Force.
Or Burke Mountain Naturalists, report: The Riverview Hospital Site, Respecting its Past,Realizing its Future
Coquitlam has designated the buildings and grounds, as a heritage site.
Download the Statement of Significance; SoS report PDF

Tour through the grounds

Paul Buikema, of Progress Landscaping, created this video.

Treefest 2011 slideshow

A slideshow of images from the Tree festival of 2011. Created in HD. Enjoy.

Riverview trees

Finnie's Garden -- slideshow

Finnie's Garden -- Pond restoration slideshow

TreeFest -- slideshow