Darlene Mercer has a petition sign-up area outside her house in Pitt Meadows. (Darlene Mercer/Special to The News)

Petition launched to stop the proposed Pitt Meadows RCMP detachment

Petitioner already gathers 175 signatures and hopes to have more discussions around the project

A petition to stop the City of Pitt Meadows from seeking re-zoning of the Park Land at Harris Rd. Park, and from putting in place a new RCMP detachment separate from Maple Ridge, has gone live.

The petition titled “Petition against removal of Parkland & formation of new RCMP detachment”, started by Pitt Meadows resident Darlene Mercer, is in response to the council’s proposed project to rezone 2,300 square meters of parkland north of the Pitt Meadows Heritage Hall, to use as the site for a new police detachment. Mercer, is against both, the new detachment, as well as the rezoning of the parkland.

”When I started looking at this issue in late February 2020, I was, as much of the world’s population, deep in the grips of COVID, imminent total lockdown, orders to stay at home by various country/world health agencies, as well as dealing with my father’s needs in Long Term Care,” said Mercer. She was unable to attend the open house, but did manage to send in her response of “no” to having a new detachment.

“I do not mean to sound harsh, but I feel it was disrespectful to residents of Pitt Meadows that the City held it’s only open house when it did (Feb 20, 2020), with the Mayor claiming wholesale approval based on a few people showing up,” she said.

Mercer insists that since the open house, the city has not put forth any formal cost-benefit analysis in front of the population, nor done a total reboot of their public education and input stage on this major infrastructure and “extremely impactful financial change.”

READ MORE: Site for new Pitt Meadows RCMP office considered approved

Mercer said, when she actively started speaking with neighbours, friends and other residents in June 2021, she found that 99 per cent of those she spoke with had no knowledge about this project.

“Everyone had been focused on COVID and staying healthy/surviving. Since I started writing Letters to the Editor, more widely talking to neighbours and putting out feelers on social media; as well as of course trying to discuss this with Council, writing the Solicitor General of BC, and the Commander of E-Division, awareness has slowly grown, but even now perhaps 70-75 per cent have ‘heard of it’ but no real information. Some are totally unaware of it,” she said.

Currently the petition already has 175 signatures and counting. Mercer is hoping to have all the signatures in, by Sept. 13.

The sign-up sheets can be dropped off with Mercer. She also has a sign-up sheet outside her house on19621 Park Rd., Pitt Meadows. Fresh petition sheets are put out daily and ‘equipment’ is cleaned, said Mercer. She also ventures out in the community every second night and she, along with the other volunteers, are hoping to have a public spot over the coming week or two.

”Sheets can be dropped off under my door mat, emailed to me at nonewdetachmentpm@gmail.com (also handy for those wanting to request a PDF of the petition), or if someone is not able to do these, I am happy to do a door step, safe pickup. I understand everyone does not have a printer or is mobile so I try to accommodate whatever a residents’ needs might be,” she said.

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