Plans to reopen Riverview create hope for Downtown Eastside (St. Paul's Hospital)

The B.C. government has plans to reopen parts of the old Riverview Hospital to increase mental health services for the province.

A new plan for the 244-acre site was announced by the City of Coquitlam in June, but B.C.’s housing minister, Rich Coleman, recently gave The Vancouver Sun an update on the project, saying that the government will modernize the facility’s form.

Riverview’s long and complicated history has sparked a lot of discussion about mental health treatment in the province and Vancouver’s homeless population. A 2013 report stated that 21 per cent of police calls involve someone who is mentally ill and St. Paul’s Hospital, the closest to the Downtown Eastside, saw a 43 per cent increase in patients with severe mental health issues from 2010 to 2013. Riverview closed its doors in February 2012.

Jill Slattery reports

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