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Woodlands School survivor Luanne Bradshaw, who was at the facility from 1967-79, poses for a photograph at Woodlands Memorial Garden in New Westminster, B.C., on March 31, 2018.DARRYL DYCK/Darryl Dyck

Survivors of abuse at a notorious school and psychiatric facility in New Westminster, B.C., have begun receiving compensation from the provincial government, after previously being left out of a legal settlement because of a legal loophole.

Residents who lived at Woodlands before 1974 will each receive $10,000, with the money expected to be paid out by March 31, 2019.

Those residents were left out of a 2009 class-action settlement because it didn’t become legal to sue the province until 1974, but the government reversed course in March.

Bill McArthur, a former Woodlands resident and survivors’ advocate who was previously denied compensation, received his money from Health Minister Adrian Dix on Monday, according to a news release from the province.

He says he feels “some sense of closure on a difficult past.”

Woodlands operated from 1878 until 1996, providing care for children and adults with developmental disabilities and some individuals with both developmental disabilities and mental illness. Abuse at the facility is well documented and in 2002, then-provincial ombudsperson Dulcie McCallum confirmed widespread sexual, physical and psychological abuse had occurred.

“I, and many Woodlands’ survivors, are finally achieving something we have long fought for,” McArthur said in the release.

“Furthermore, I encourage other survivors to reach out to the provincial government to receive their redress as well. This vindication, I hope, will allow them to live the rest of their lives with a sense of self respect and dignity.”

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