Maple Ridge Councillor Dr. Bob Masse plans to continue fighting for a centre to house severely mentally ill people, despite the premier's dismissal of the proposition.
It was Masse's idea for Maple Ridge council to send a resolution to the recent Union of B.C. Municipalities' conference to re-open Riverview Hospital and turn it into a centre of excellence for mental health.
The resolution was overwhelmingly supported by the UBCM delegates, which included mayors and councillors from across the provnce.
Shortly after the resolution passed, the premier addressed the UBCM and said re-opening Riverview wasn't something that was being considered.
"We're not giving up on it," Masse said about the rejection from the Premier Christy Clark.
On Oct. 5, Masse will be visiting Riverview Hospital in Coquitlam and will be shown the facility and the few services that still exist there. This is part of his plan to keep advocating for mental health services, especially for the severely mentally ill.
But Masse is also flexible in what kind of services would be provided. So, if it's determined that Riverview isn't the solution, there might be other solutions.
"If the government says 'no,' I am willing to be part of the conversation... to come to some other workable solution," he said.
But Masse said he believes re-opening Riverview Hospital is a "good and logical" solution to addressing the issues around mental health - visible in Maple Ridge and other communities across the Lower Mainland.
He hopes that he can keep up the pressure on the provincial government, and perhaps they will change their minds.
"Our end goal is to deal with the problem - force the province deal with the problem," he said.
Masse believes all of council wants to see better solutions to the severe and chronic problems with mental health, something that is "everywhere," he said.
"It's not a local Maple Ridge phenomenon," he said, adding that "it affects every community in the province."
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