A Metro Vancouver mayor is imploring the province to speed up the construction of new mental health and addiction treatment facilities on the old Riverview lands.
Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart made the heartfelt plea in video posted to Facebook, as he walked the grounds of the old hospital.
“I’m here today on my way home from a funeral. Another funeral, for a young man who died of his mental illness and addictions,” Steward said. “I got to offer condolences to a family that lost their young son. I don’t want to do that again.”
Riverview Hospital operated as a mental health facility close to a century until the province shut it down in 2o12.
In 2015, the provincial government announced plans to build two new multi-million facilities on the site, with construction due to begin in 2017.
A $100 million 105-bed mental health facility will replace the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction and a $75 million facility will house the 28-bed Maples Adolescent Treatment Centre and the 10-bed Provincial Assessment Centre.
They’re due to be completed in 2019 but according to Stewart, that’s not fast enough.
“There’s all kinds of reasons why this site can, and will, play an important role in the treatment of mental health and addictions in the future,” he said. “I look to the government to hurry.”