2 new mental health facilities coming to Riverview Lands: B.C. gov't
The province will be building two new mental health buildings on the Riverview Lands in Coquitlam to house services that already exist as part of a new plan for the century-old mental hospital, the B.C. government announced Dec. 17, 2015. (CTV News).
The province will be building two new mental health buildings on the Riverview Lands in Coquitlam to house services that already exist as part of a new plan for the century-old mental hospital.
It will cost $100-million to build a 105-bed mental health facility to replace the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction, and $75-million for a new 28-bed Maples Adolescent Treatment Centre and 10-bed Provincial Assessment Centre.
“Today as part of an ambitious vision for the Riverview lands, we’re announcing a new purpose-built mental health and substance use facility,” said Health Ministry Terry Lake at the announcement.
However the minister acknowledged there will only be 17 net new beds in this construction, as the old Burnaby sites have been sold.
Riverview was a sprawling 244-acre, 75-building complex that was first used as a mental health facility in 1913. At one point it had thousands of patients living there, before it was mostly closed in 2012. Only a handful of patients live there now, and film crews shoot movies in the decaying buildings.
The future of the site was hotly debated, with the Coquitlam city council calling for a “Coquitlam Health Campus,” the province looking to create market housing on the site, and a land claim by the Kwikwetlem First Nation.
The new buildings will occupy the land currently taken by two existing buildings, Unit 8 and the Valleyview Building, which was a geriatric psychiatric ward.
NDP MLA Selina Robinson said just 17 beds isn’t likely to make a difference to the emergency rooms that are filled with mental health cases - or to the police, who are seeing spikes in mental health related arrests.
“Seventeen beds are not going to empty our emergency rooms,” she said.
There had been a two-year consultation process about what would take place on the lands, which looked at everything from health care facilities to retail and communities, she said.
But releasing detailed plans about two buildings, while the rest of the process involved general sketches, implied that the planning process had been short-circuited and this had been in the works the whole time, she added.
“I went along with these visioning exercises. I feel used,” she said.
Robinson wondered if the upcoming by-election for the seat left vacant by Doug Horne in Coquitlam Burke-Mountain encouraged the Liberal government to make announcements in the Tri-Cities area.
Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart said he thought the building was a good first step.
“We’ll take what we can get,” said Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart. “We’ll look for more and advocate for that with government.”
Construction will start in 2017, with the buildings likely to be finished in 2019.