Premier Christy Clark takes questions from reporters Friday in front of a rendering of the future bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel.

Premier rejects UBCM call to reopen Riverview

Civic leaders make case for better mental health care

B.C. won’t reopen the closed Riverview Hospital, not even in a modern form.

That was Premier Christy Clark’s response Friday to a vote earlier in the day by the Union of B.C. Municipalities to support reviving the old psychiatric institution.

“We’re not considering that,” Clark said. “The folks that we are all so concerned about who are living homeless in British Columbia are not from Riverview. It’s a new set of problems we need to deal with.”

Clark said she shared UBCM delegates’ desire to improve mental health care and highlighted provincial investments in affordable housing and treatment.

She also said an improved economy will help pay for more social programs.

“As we grow the economy, we will grow our ability to be able to look after what appeared in the past to be these unsolvable problems.”

Municipal leaders endorsed a Maple Ridge resolution calling for the re-establishment of Riverview as a modern centre of excellence, with patient-centred wraparound care.

Some delegates stressed it must be a new model, not a return to what Victoria Coun. Lisa Helps called the “checkered history” of primarily warehousing psychiatric patients.

Maple Ridge Coun. Bob Masse cited a low number of psychiatric beds per capita in B.C. and longer waits than other provinces.

He said the mentally ill are ending up in prisons, alleys, doorways and “in our morgues.”

Also passed was a Delta resolution calling for the creation by senior governments of early intervention centres to house mental health or addictions patients who a doctor decides may be a risk to themselves or others.

Delta Mayor Lois Jackson says police are spending too much time dealing with calls involving the mentally ill and the current system doesn’t do enough to prevent those individuals from harming themselves or others.

She recounted the story of one young Delta man who was taken by police to hospital and was released from care later with some pills and a bus ticket home. He went straight to the Alex Fraser Bridge and jumped to his death.

“There is a clear need for facilities where these individuals can be housed,” Jackson said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Low-cost bicycle repair shop opens in Cloverdale

Cloverdale Community Cycles starts up in church parking lot

Surrey sports groups grapple with refunds, registration, restrictions and more

‘Our biggest problem is going to be retraining the public because they can’t be there’

Cloverdale businessman funds wells in Cambodia

Revive Washing in Clayton Heights donates three per cent of profits to charity

‘Ideal conditions’ mean the end of aerial spraying to rid Surrey area of gypsy moth – for now

Trapping this summer will determine if more spraying in Fraser Heights will be needed in 2021

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

Suspect sought in alleged assault, hate crime on Metro Vancouver bus: transit police

The woman then allegedly punched the teenager in the head multiple times

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Help the ‘Cloverdale Reporter’ continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Abbotsford International Airshow opening 50-year-old time capsule

Bronze time capsule was put together to commemorate AIA as Canada’s National Airshow

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson says he’s heard no concerns from public

Most Read