Riverview presentation meets with skepticism 0
Building on the Riverview Hospital grounds in Coquitlam, B.C. on Sunday October 6, 2013. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
A Coquitlam city councillor expects a lot of empty promises when council hears a presentation Monday on the visioning process for the empty Riverview Hospital.
Coun. Mae Reid said she expects the province’s representative, BC Housing CEO Shayne Ramsay, to talk about starting committees and liaising with local governments about plans for the site’s development, without any real intention of listening to them.
However, Reid hopes she’s proven wrong.
“They just want a process,” said Reid. “It’s another of these — to me — bureaucratic, long process things to keep the natives from becoming restless.”
The former mental health facility has been effectively closed since the 1990s, and even though the province owns it, it sits on prime Coquitlam land.
Last month the province again resisted calls to reopen the hospital and many fear the property, a mixture of grass and trees and derelict buildings, will become condos.
But Coquitlam Coun. Terry O’Neill said he’s not concerned about the government’s plan. He expects the presentation to be a window into how the province will decide to develop the land.
“They’ve got the power to do what they want with it,” said O’Neill. “But they also know that politically the city’s a force ... there’s been a lot of strong community voices.”