In all of the current discussions and debates of the future of the Riverview lands, the emphasis is being placed upon the physical side of the territory.
The conversation is mostly limited to the heritage buildings, the natural hillside landscape and the treasure trove of trees, as important as those physical features are.
The talk seems to be centred and limited upon the environment. As such, the full ecological culture of the area is being ignored, or at least, intentionally overlooked.
Reviewers of the government and the public seem to be viewing the possibilities of the future through a narrow lens and consider the vision of the cherished lands wearing blinkers.
What is being lost in the review is the religious side of Riverview.
When the hospital was first established in the early years of the 20th century, religion played a significant role of the culture of the institution for everyone associated with it. At that time, life on the grounds was a culture based upon the healing and care not only of the body and mind, but also of the soul.
The care of the soul is not being mentioned, or even being peripherally considered, in the preservation and conservation debate documents of the Riverview heritage.
Over the years of the hospital's service to the community, chaplains of a variety of denominations were an essential and significant part of the total healing and care of the institution's every program. They served not only the patients, but also the staff as well as many extended family members.
Chapel facilities, including religious artifacts and icons, were all a key component of most buildings.
A cemetery continues to play an integral place on the grounds alongside the sanctity of Garden.
Before any further decisions are contemplated, I believe that the religious, sacred and spiritual sides of Riverview need to be given a much more serious profile.
I encourage each and all of the reviewers to acknowledge the place that the metaphysical has in the heritage of a treasured part of the life of Coquitlam and the province of British Columbia.
David Spence Port Moody