The sound of tires squealing and gunned engines were the appropriate background noise for the announcement at the Pitt Meadows Airport on Wednesday afternoon.
Police recruits honed their driving skills outside, while inside the canvass structure politicians announced a more permanent building for the driver education centre run by the Justice Institute of BC (JIBC) at the airport. The YPK/JIBC Integrated Driving Centre is located at 18200 Ford Rd.
Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge MP Dan Ruimy and Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Doug Bing were on hand to announce $392,000 in funding. Of the total, $213,000 will come from Victoria, and 179,000 will be federal funding.
It will be used to purchase pre-fabricated structures to provide 2,300 square feet of classrooms, a lunchroom, office and washrooms. Gone will be the porta potties and generators at the current temporary facilities, characterized by one JIBC staff member as “camping out.”
The drivers courses are primarily for municipal police and sheriff training, but are used by other groups including paramedics.
“Our teaching and learning philosophy is rooted in experiential training, where group discussions and the use of case studies are integral to our learning process and outcomes,” said Steve Schnitzer, JIBC police academy director.
“We hold classes in almost all weather conditions and currently have to brief and debrief students with little shelter. This funding will help improve the quality of our education programming and training by providing modern and comfortable facilities to facilitate discussions with recruits before and after driving the course.”
Schnitzer said police recruits spend four days out of their 13 week police academy training at the Pitt Meadows driver education centre learning how to control police vehicles, basic principles of driving, and multi-tasking while behind the wheel.
“There’s an element of distracted driving inherent in the job of policing,” he said.
They also announced $1.54 million for roof replacement for three buildings at the JIBC campus in New Westminster
The new facilities are expected to be in place by June.