Work will begin soon to build permanent barriers around Goldstream Trestle park and around the rail infrastructure.
The construction is part of a joint suicide prevention strategy in the West Shore and Sooke areas.
The Canadian Mental Health Association BC Division (CMHA BC) and the Island Corridor Foundation are collaborating in safety improvements in and around the railway infrastructure.
Municipal, provincial, community-sector, first responder, education, elected and railway infrastructure leaders have been meeting on a regular basis to plan, coordinate, and mobilize resources to better respond to crisis and suicide.
“We know that communities have a critical role to play in its prevention by providing support and a safety net to people who are experiencing a suicidal crisis. Lives can be saved with the appropriate services, supports, and means [sic] safety measures in place,” said CMHA BC CEO, Jonny Morris.
The CMHA BC has been working to raise awareness about services and supports, reinforce links between systems of care, and improve the safety in and around railway infrastructure.
Earlier this year, on the evening of January 9th, the body of 16-year-old Andre Courtemanche was discovered in Goldstream Provincial Park after he had gone missing.
Courtemanche was suffering with depression and anxiety, and was two days away from receiving treatment.
A GoFundMe was set up for the family.
“After fighting for two years to get Andre some help coping, his parents received a call for the long waited appointment two days after their beloved son went missing. Too little too late,” reads the GoFundMe page.
Goldstream Trestle Park has been a popular attraction for locals and tourists to access the railway.
Now, those visiting the park will be restricted from accessing the railway.
“This working group came together quickly with a two-part plan: one that addresses the immediate need to restrict access to rail infrastructure and a second part that will see increased mental health coordination and support in our community,” said MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, Alistair MacGregor.
According to Island Corridor Foundation CEO Larry Stevenson, the construction to put in place the barriers will begin immediately and be completed within the coming weeks.
Moving forward, the CMHA BC will work to expand key services like community counselling, safety improvements, and other evidence-based measures.
If you or someone you know needs help, call the B.C. Crisis Centre Distress Line number at 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-784-2433.