Riverview Hospital West Lawn building, one of several structures of the former mental hospital that have fallen into decay since they were closed down by the early 1990s. (Jeff Hitchcock/Flickr)

Plans to open Riverview youth mental health centre proceeding

Replacement for Maples Treatment Centre first announced in March

By Black Press

The B.C. NDP government is proceeding with a plan launched before the spring election to open a new mental health and addiction treatment for youth at Riverview Hospital in Coquitlam.

The facility will address the opioid overdose and mental health crisis, which has seen an average four deaths a day in B.C. in recent months, and replace an aging facility in Burnaby. Premier John Horgan, Municipal Affairs Minister Selina Robinson and Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy announced the start of construction Friday at the Riverview site.

The facility will make “an enormous difference” for families dealing with young people’s mental health and addiction issues, Darcy said. The facility is a step toward a “seamless” system for mental health treatment and a “community of care” at Riverview, she said.

On March 29, 2017, the B.C. Liberal government committed $75 million to construct a new building at Riverview, for a new home of the Maples Adolescent Treatment Centre for Youth and Provincial Assessment Centre in Burnaby.

The design and construction contract was awarded in March to PCL Constructors Westcoast, with construction set for completion by the end of 2018.

A petition of Lower Mainland communities organized by a group called Coalition for a Healthy Riverview found public support for reopening the site for mental health services early in 2017.

The largest number of signatures came from Maple Ridge, a community that has been grappling with tent camps populated by transient drug users.

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