For nearly 70 years, Riverview Hospital and its attached facilities was a major economic driver in the Tri-Cities with close to 4000 jobs associated with the operations of the hospital.  The future of the lands has been a hot topic since its closure in 2012. It’s made headlines in the Lower Mainland most recently with the release of a report by the City of Coquitlam stating what they would like to see done with the site.

Riverview Hospital Coquitlam

BC Housing has started to move forward with the development of the Riverview lands through their Renewing Riverview project, looking at how to best utilize this prime piece of real estate. Because the Tri-Cities Chamber has long been focused on how to use the lands as both a hub for mental health and wellness and an economic driver within the Tri-Cities, BC Housing has asked the Chamber to come forward with a vision and a plan as to what local businesses would like to see at the Riverview site. The Chamber’s Renew Riverview subcommittee consists of local business leaders and will be responsible for research, discussion and analysis of issues related to the economic development of the Riverview lands.

Riverview presents a great opportunity to bring hundreds of good paying jobs back to the community. When Riverview was open, many of the staff also lived in the Tri-Cities community and spent their hard earned salaries at local businesses. My mother was a nurse at Valleyview, the geriatric ward at Riverview Hospital, for many years and raised a family in Port Coquitlam. There is temptation to build more housing on this site, but, is that really what we need? If we want to attract people and build a community, we need good paying jobs right here in our own backyard.

The Riverview lands already have a century of economic contributions to the Tri-Cities under its belt. Let’s recognize the potential of this site and revive Riverview as an economic driver once again. Let’s reach out to the private sector in medical services, mental health and addications services, and get them involved. The Province needs to re-examine how we deal with mental health and, with the support of the private sector and the community, we can breathe new life into Riverview as a driver for the Tri-Cities’ economy and for the advancement of mental health and wellness in BC.

*Keep track of where we stand on the future of Riverview on our policy page at www.tricitieschamber.com/pages/PublicPolicy

Michael Hind, Executive Director
Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce