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.

Just Posted

Wildfire threatens weekend campers at Chehalis Lake

The fire started on the north side of Chehalis Lake Saturday

PET CARE: Canada Day tips for our pet’s anxiety

Columnist Nicolette Joosting examines different ways to help your pets relax through the celebration

Fraser Valley author launches second crime novel

Seamus Heffernan releases book Ten Grand on June 27 in Abbotsford

Agassiz author pens a kingly book

Long-time writer and producer Alexander Hamilton-Brown just finished his first novel

Chilliwack judge veers from joint submission, bumps up sex assault sentence

‘I find the joint submission is contrary to the public interest and I’m rejecting it’

VIDEO: Reading splashes into Agassiz’s Ferny Coombe Pool

The Agassiz Library held its annual Reading in the Pool event Friday, June 14

Woman missing from forensic psychiatric hospital in Coquitlam

Barbara Tom was reported on an unauthorized absence from Brookside Treatment Centre

Tiny Yorkshire terrier survives days on remote B.C. island

ROAM rescue crews, family searched for dog, missing in Greater Victoria for days

Man presumed dead after boat capsizes in Columbia River

Search and rescue efforts recovered a life jacket

Crews fight wildfire along Sea-to-Sky Highway

A cause has not been determined, although a downed power line is suspected

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Being a pot dealer is not what it used to be

Sunday Big Read: the business of selling marijuana in B.C. is a slow bureaucratic slog

Most Read