Already mired in controversy over the province's heritage conservation plan, Riverview Hospital now finds itself on a list alongside nine other sites in Canada considered the most endangered in the country.
The Heritage Canada Foundation released its eighth annual Top 10 Most Endangered Places List Wednesday, a compilation of sites considered at risk due to a handful of factors.
"We look at three main criteria as our guidelines: the importance of the site, the degree or level of threat and the extent of community support," said Carolyn Quinn, the foundation's director of communications. "We also sometimes look at situations where there is a good example of a problem that we know a lot of communities in Canada are dealing with: lighthouses, historic schools or churches, for example."
The list was compiled based on submissions from across the country, and a panel of four heritage conservation specialists narrowed down those entries. Other sites on the list in western Canada include Chilliwack's Paramount Theatre, the Barron Building in Calgary and Regina's Ecole Connaught Community School.
As for Riverview, the panel's assessment of the site suggests the historic hospital is "threatened with insensitive development."
"The B.C. government is rushing the redevelopment plans on the site, leaving advocates concerned for its future," the report suggests.
Coquitlam Coun. Craig Hodge, chair of the city's Riverview lands advisory committee, conceded the list doesn't do much in the way of ensuring Riverview will be retained as a haven for mental health care. That said, he hopes the exposure generated by the list draws some more attention from all corners of Canada.
"It sends a clear message to the people that are planning the future of Riverview that this site is of key interest not just to the citizens of Coquitlam or the citizens of the Lower Mainland, but all the citizens in Canada," he said.
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