The recent health care deal between the provincial and federal governments has Coquitlam’s mayor hopeful there may yet be a way to utilize the shuttered Riverview Hospital as an addiction and mental health treatment centre.
Last month, Richard Stewart openly lobbied re-opening the hospital as a tool in the fight against the overdose crisis, and last Friday’s accord has him hopeful that will kick start the possibility.
“We know there’s a role to be played by Riverview and I think this announcement really opens the door. I’ll be talking to [Health] Minister Terry Lake and other ministers in the coming weeks to see what we can do with the Riverview Hospital.”
Stewart says there’s an urgent need now for hundreds of beds to treat addiction and mental illness.
“We really think there’s an opportunity to move forward very quickly with some solutions rather than a five-year planning window for construction of a new facility.”
The accord between the federal government and B.C. will see as much as $655-million dollars allocated for mental health initiatives and an extra $10-million to fight opioid addiction.