Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows was a magnet for health care upgrades in 2020.
At the top of the list, Ridge Meadows Hospital got a new $5-million magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine in June.
There has been a lot of renovations at the hospital in preparation for the machine’s arrival. The floor had to be reinforced to support the 5,000 kilogram machine, walls moved, the area sound proofed.
“It’s a fantastic thing for the community and the hospital. It’s huge,” said medical director Okert Lampen said, not only of its size and weight, but of its significance to future patient care.
Describing the $7.5-million MRI suite as a game changer for this hospital and the community’s healthcare needs, he said.
It it’s like “day and night” in offering more precision for diagnosing and treating patients, he said, noting it will be able to perform 7,500 tests in a year, with the suite operating 18 hours a day, seven days a week.
In August, Premier John Horgan was in Maple Ridge to announce a new Urgent and Primary Care Centre to be located in the Haney Place Mall.
Horgan stood outside the downtown shopping centre with local MLAs Bob D’Eith and Lisa Beare, and Fraser Health CEO Dr. Victoria Lee and announced a new permanent home for an urgent and primary care centre.
“This is going to connect about 25,000 people to the health care providers they need here in the community, whether it’s a general practitioner, a nurse practitioner, RNs or any other health care providers,” said Horgan.
“We’re right here in the middle of Haney,” noted D’Eith. “The Haney Place Mall is very central, and it’s going to be a great location for people to come and get the primary care they need, and also connect to a doctor or a nurse practitioner.”
March saw the opening of The Foundry. A renovated restaurant on Lougheed Highway and 116th Avenue in Maple Ridge offers one-stop mental health, medical and substance-abuse counselling as well as social services and employment programs on a walk-in basis to anyone between 12 and 24 years old.
“You walk in that door, this is a place that’s full of warmth, it’s a place that’s full of support… and it’s a place that’s full of hope,” and a beacon for youth in the area, said Judy Darcy, minister of mental health and addictions, at the official opening.
The building features a demonstration kitchen, lounges, counselling rooms, an exam room, and a reception area. Renovations to the building cost $1.4 million and received two grants totalling $650,000. Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Community Services and the Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation and local groups and individuals raised the balance.