BC Liberal MLAs are calling for action from Premier David Eby and the NDP as a new mental health and substance use unit slated to open at Peace Arch Hospital last summer still hasn’t opened.
“A year ago, the NDP announced a new dedicated mental health and substance use unit as part of renovations to the Peace Arch Hospital to be completed in the Summer of 2022, but six months later it still hasn’t opened,” said Surrey-White Rock MLA Trevor Halford on Tuesday. “My community was promised this essential facility would be operational by now, but an ongoing dispute between the Province and Fraser Health has left the doors closed, preventing the delivery of vital care to people in need.”
The total cost of the overhaul at Peace Arch Hospital including the new mental health and substance use unit, billed as creating 10 additional care spaces, rose to $91.05 million, of which $38.5 million was paid for by the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation’s fundraising efforts.
“It’s incredibly disheartening to see David Eby’s NDP government dragging its feet on a project of this importance and which has been in the works since the previous BC Liberal government,” said Mental Health and Addictions Critic Elenore Sturko. “Whether it is an issue within the health authority or the government, the buck stops with the Premier and he needs to explain this unacceptable delay to the people of Surrey and White Rock.”
She added: “We are on the precipice of a historic change to drug policy, with decriminalization just a few weeks away. One of the obligations in the Province’s agreement with the federal government is the improvement of access to health services, but delays like this show how the NDP government is already failing to meet its responsibilities. With six people dying from a drug overdose in B.C. every day, this is genuinely a life-or-death situation — we cannot afford this unacceptable delay to mental health and substance use care in B.C.”