By Diane Strandberg, The Tri-City News
Riverview Hospital may have closed two years ago but discussion on the future of the 244- acre site is ongoing, with many suggesting it become a refuge for people with mental health and addiction issues.
It apparently is already, with a program about to launch on the Riverview grounds for people recovering from both mental illness and addiction.
The executive director of non-profit Coast Mental Health confirmed this week that three years of funding has been granted by the Provincial Health Services Authority for a program for 40 men and women to run out of the Hillside and Brookside buildings on the site.
Tomorrow (Saturday), a job fair is being held on the Riverview grounds to seek out people for more than 40 positions, including mental health practitioners, cooks, housekeepers and leisure therapists.
Darrell Burnham said the referrals will come from the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addictions, with Coast Mental Health providing up to a year or more of support through a variety of counselling and clinic al programs, including 24-hour nursing care.
Denise Bradshaw, program director with BC Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, said the money comes from a $5-million fund announced by the Ministry of Health this year to deal with people who have both mental health and addiction issues.”The goal is to allow people to have a longer stay in treatment and recovery before moving back to home communities, “she said.
Whatever the goals, members of the Riverview Horticultural Centre Society are welcoming the news as a sign that the former provincial mental health hosp ital is still regarded as a place to support people with mental illness.
“It’s such a place for healing,” said Norma Gillespie, who noted society volunteers will be cleaning up the creek next to the Hillside and Brookside buildings to make the area welcoming for the new residents.
The group has long championed Riverview as a centre for mental health excellence and Gillespie said the establishment of a new program, albeit relatively short-term, is a good sign.
“We are thrilled,” she said.
Burnham said the reuse of the two buildings was considered because they didn’t need much work except for some safety upgrades and paint, and could be open quickly. As for the longer term use of Riverview, Burnham said that would be decided through BC Housing’s ongoing vision and review.
Coast Mental Health also operates a cottage program at Riverview for approximately 41 men and women.
There is actually more job fairs this Thursday and Saturday. Good Luck !
In a side bar in the above article Diane Strandberg also mentions the Rally at Colony Farm, which has now happened, and you can find out more HERE
And secondly mention is also made of the Third Renewing Riverview open houses
The signs of something happening at Hillside and Brookside did not go unnoticed, I mentioned it before