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.

Surrey North Delta Leader

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

Just Posted

Girls, women try their hand at marine rescue in Surrey

Achieve Anything Foundation, RCMSAR Crescent Beach host ‘Operation: This IS You! Saving Lives at Sea’

White Rock cadets nab medals at Vernon competition

Thirteen members of 907 Squadron compete at regional meet

Surrey boy living with congenital heart disease to speak at local Tedx event

Mason Vander Ploeg will be speaking on saving the oceans

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Winds up to 70 km/hr expected across Metro Vancouver

Winds are expected to subside overnight

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Fraser Health warns some schools of possible COVID-19 exposure

A sixth COVID-19 patient is a woman in her 30s in the Fraser Health region who recently returned from Iran

High-risk sex offender cuts off ankle bracelet, on the loose in Vancouver: police

Vancouver police said Kirstjon Olson, 38, is a provincial sex offender with 27 court-ordered conditions

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Most Read