In a letter to the editor I wrote to the NOW on Aug. 17, 2007, I warned that we better be vigilant to protect Riverview lands from the Liberal government when Rich Coleman was proposing 7,000 market homes be built instead of providing the facilities we needed to treat the mentally ill roaming the streets or languishing in jails. I have worked in mental health, the provincial criminal courts and for the Vancouver police, so have seen the plight of the mentally ill from many angles.It has not gotten better but worse because of a mentality that if there is a piece of land that can be developed, be damned for the ill, their families coping with the problem and the police spending much of their budget to try to contain it. The drug problems because of self medicating and the increased violence put us all at risk, besides costing us an unconscionable amount of extra money.And what is the solution from Premier Christy Clark? To say "no way" will her government consider the proposals by the mayors of the surrounding regions to provide mental health facilities on the land. Instead Riverview has been left to waste away while the government fosters its nefarious plans to develop the land mainly for other purposes. Its intrinsic value as an arboretum and green space would probably ultimately disappear.The people of this province, in a mystifying way to me, voted again to elect this government, which continues to take money out of our pockets and not serve the needs of its citizens. Isn't it time we, along with our mayors, fought back and demanded Riverview be reinstated as a world-renowned mental health facility? When is enough for people to see through these self-serving plans that constantly ignore the plight of its most vulnerable? The mentally ill are members of our community, our friends and our families. It's time we stood up for them.Please wake up citizens, before it is too late. As I urged in 2007, please write your representatives and insist Riverview be developed as a modern facility for the needs of which it was intended for the last 100 years.
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