Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart is describing a meeting with a panel tasked with looking into community leaves from psychiatric facilities as a good discussion.
On Tuesday, the mayor met with the national panel to air his concerns over unescorted day passes for facilities like the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Port Coquitlam.
Stewart said he told the panel the community has always, and wants to continue to embrace a facility like the hospital.
"But we also want assurance that we can have confidence the system is going to work," he said.
Stewart said he understands part of the challenge is that the criteria for how decisions are made at the hospital are based on what is best for the patient.
However, he said if residents are going to continue to support the hospital, the community needs to remain informed and considered in the decision-making at the facility.
The mayor asked for the meeting in the wake of two patients from the hospital going missing within a few days of each other.
On May 24, Coquitlam RCMP issued a warrant for Gregory Owen Schleen, 49, who was last seen by a staff member at the hospital the previous morning.
He was supposed to be at the Coast Cottages on the Riverview Hospital site later in the morning but never showed up.
Just a few days earlier, a warrant was issued for David Fomradas, 34.
Fomradas is the man behind a bizarre carjacking in 2009 involving Vancouver actress Carly Pope.
In both cases, the two men had been on unescorted day passes when they disappeared.
Both patients are still missing.
The incidents prompted the hospital to launch two reviews and temporarily suspend its unescorted day-pass program.
The first review found there were no violations with respect to protocol at the hospital.
Though Stewart said the panel's mandate is national in nature and didn't provide feedback during the meeting, he said he's looking forward to seeing what the panel will ultimately do to address some of the community's concerns.
"Now we're talking to them about systemic changes that might make it better, both to prevent this [missing patients] so it doesn't happen again, but also to respond appropriately when something goes sideways," he said.
Stewart said he also expects to meet with operational staff at the hospital.
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