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I wonder how many committees and studies we will need to have about the Riverview Hospital lands before the provincial government gets the message that the people of Coquitlam and surrounding areas treasure the property.
We do not want upscale housing, condos, etc. This land is owned by the province and it is a golden opportunity for a use that has a public component.
What a sin for government to dismiss the obvious long and growing need to care for the mentally ill. In the downsizing of Riverview Hospital, all the patients were farmed out. We were assured over and over again that the patients would be suitably housed and cared for. The result was that many went to single independent living facilities with little or no oversight for their day-to-day care, and hundreds decompensated and many are homeless and wandering in the Downtown Eastside and elsewhere.
There is a huge public concern that this treasure should be retained for social needs, not upscale housing. We cannot allow the province to ignore the community’s priority.
Eunice Parker, Coquitlam
CHECK IT OUT
Providence Farm in the town of Duncan might not be quite the right model for charting the future of the Riverview Hospital lands but it’s a pretty good discussion starter.
It’s a lovely example of what can happen when a rural property is treated as both an asset for the entire community and a place of healing for the mentally ill and developmentally challenged.
Providence Farm provides mental health day programs around a core activity of organic gardening. Vegetables are sold at Duncan’s farmer’s market, greenhouse flowers are the basis of a small retail nursery and Alzheimer’s patients have their own enclosed plots to tend.
The community shares the property: allotment gardening, picnics and wedding rentals, the annual Cowichan Valley folk music festival, hot lunches, a therapeutic riding program and so on. The farm is a hub, a focal point, where diverse individuals and activities cross paths.
Check out the introductory, five-minute video at www.providence.bc.ca and then let your Riverview dreaming begin.
Bob Cowin, Port Moody