Jun 16, 2014 Return to Headlines

Riverview Lands Offer Unique Opportunity to Address Mental Health Care Crisis

by GS GS |

Coquitlam Council proposes health campus

COQUITLAM, BC, Monday, June 16, 2014– The City of Coquitlam is re-affirming its commitment to the Riverview Lands’ legacy as a place of caring and healing by calling for a comprehensive health campus on the lands: “The Coquitlam Health Campus.”

In December of 2013, the City of Coquitlam retained Dr. John Higenbottam, a widely respected Canadian mental health expert with extensive experience throughout BC and across Canada. Dr. Higenbottam was asked to translate the City’s vision for the Riverview Lands into required programs, services and associated facilities based on a modern health care framework and the health needs of all British Columbians (local, regional and provincial). The need for a comprehensive health and wellness campus was identified.

“The need for mental health and health care programs, services and facilities in British Columbia has never being greater,” says Dr. John Higenbottam. “Utilizing the Riverview Lands for program and service delivery is the key to addressing the needs of people with serious mental illnesses in the Lower Mainland and throughout the province.”

Anchored by an acute care hospital and a psychiatric hospital, The Coquitlam Health Campus would also consist of integrated clinical care, long-term residential and rehabilitation programs and services, education and training facilities, a health and wellness business park and public uses. 

“Mental illness is a significant issue in every BC community; the mental health care crisis is a significant local, regional and provincial issue,” says Mayor Richard Stewart. “A commitment from all levels of government and across all service delivery agencies is required to adequately address it. We believe that a site the size of Riverview, along with a supportive surrounding community, can be the starting point of a solution.”

The land’s tree collection and natural features along with its heritage and cultural values will be an integral part of The Coquitlam Health Campus, in order to leverage the therapeutic benefits and respect the land’s history and community values.

“Coquitlam offers a unique opportunity for meeting mental health care needs,” says Councillor Craig Hodge, Chair of the City’s Riverview Lands Advisory Committee.  “Our City Council and our residents have always and will continue to welcome this facility in our community and the physical capacity needed to deliver these services exists on the Riverview Lands.” 

The vision for The Coquitlam Health Campus reflects and builds upon the 2005 Riverview Task Force Report, For the Future of Riverview. Coquitlam’s Council remains committed to the principles that the Riverview Lands should remain in tact and under public ownership with no market housing.

Dr. Higenbottam has extensive experience as a clinical educator and hospital administrator, with firsthand knowledge of Riverview Hospital where he served for 12 years as Assistant Administor and Vice-President. He is currently a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia and Co-Chair, Canadian Alliance for Mental Illness and Mental Health. (See complete bio attached.)

To view Dr. Higenbottam’s report, The Coquitlam Health Campus, or the 2005 Riverview Task Force Report, For the Future of Riverview, visit www.coquitlam.ca/riverview.


Media contact:
Michelle Frilund
Communications Coordinator
604-927-3012 (office) or 604-505-9708 (cell)