In August 2015, our members at Mountain View Home in Abbotsford were told that Fraser Health would be closing their 25-bed mental health facility in 12 months. The news hit the owners and workers at this family-run facility very hard, and they began a well-focussed grassroots campaign to save the home. Along with the owner and families of patients, they started a petition and garnered significant media attention.
On February 25, 2016 the Fraser Health Authority informed Mountain View Home owner, Patrick Newby, that they have decided not to close Mountain View Home directly, but let the facility phase out as residents moved. While this is not a complete victory for our members, it offers the facility some time to breathe, and perhaps campaign for change.
There are many details for the phase out, and the owners have yet to receive confirmation in writing from Fraser Health. What is known so far is that the beds that are currently vacant will be offered to residents who have left the facility. Any vacancies left after being offered to former residents will not be filled, and any beds that become vacant will not be filled. In essence the facility will be closed slowly as residents move and beds become vacant.
There is a larger new mental health facility opening in August 2016 in the area, which Fraser Health hopes will offer more options for patients. Residents will be offered the opportunity to tour the new facility once it is built, with the option to move once the facility is open.
At this time the union and the employer do not anticipate any immediate impacts on any of our members with the changes. The process of choices for residents will take time and the new facility is not expected to open until August 2016.
The change of strategy from Fraser Health is a direct result of the campaign by the workers, owners, and clients of Mountain View Home. It shows how well organized, grassroots activism can make a difference and how solidarity amongst members, good working relationships with community and an employer can benefit everyone: members, employers and communities as a whole.
On Saturday March 19th Mountain View Home will be hosting a rally in celebration of the decision. Members, family, and friends of Mountain View Home are all welcome to attend. It will be held at the facility itself, 5133 Boundary Road in Abbotsford, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be a barbecue lunch and an opportunity to hear from the folks who made this decision possible.
For more information please contact Keith Cameron, BCGEU Staff Representative, at 604-291-9611 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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