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Pitt Meadows could pay over $18 million for RCMP office

It could be done with little or no tax increase, says Dingwall
Pitt Meadows council has a report detailing the cost of building its own RCMP detachment. (Special to The News)

The cost of a new purpose-built police station for an independent Pitt Meadows RCMP ranges between $18.3 and $24.6 million, depending on the site selected.

The site recommended by city staff, chosen with the benefit of a consultant’s report, is the lot on Harris Road that currently houses the Pitt Meadows Art Gallery. On the same site there is also a boarded-up athletic building, which is being used as storage space.

The cost to remove those buildings and construct a new RCMP detachment would be up to $18.3 million, which was the lowest cost of the sites the city looked at.

City staff has recommended borrowing from the Municipal Finance Authority, and city hall will seek senior government grants to help pay the capital costs.

“We’re hoping to be able to do it without a tax increase, or without a very big one,” said Mayor Bill Dingwall, noting city capital reserves should be able to cover much of the cost.

The consultants say the art gallery site is a central location on an arterial road, and note the current Community Policing office could be repurposed for a new art gallery.

Council’s engagement and priorities committee got an update on the proposed new building for the detachment on Tuesday night, in a meeting that included RCMP officials and Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Lisa Beare. The issue will be before council at an upcoming meeting for a decision.

The site recommended had the lowest construction costs at $12.6 million, including furnishings and equipment. Consultants cite additional costs for building new washrooms to service the park, relocating the art gallery, a contingency, and escalation of construction costs, requiring a project budget of approximately $18.3 million.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, city CAO Mark Roberts noted the city is already paying $290,000 per year toward the maintenance and eventual replacement of RCMP facilities in Maple Ridge, as part of its $5.5 million per year policing costs. That money would be diverted to a local building.

The timeline would see design completed in April of 2022, construction begin in September 2022, and the building being available for occupancy by May 2024.

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City staff identified 13 building options at 10 different sites. Considering police input, consultants KMBR Architects looked at options at the athletic park, at the recreation centre, in the coming North Lougheed development and other sites. They considered cost, impacts on neighbours, proximity to the population centre and other factors.

In March of 2020 council voted to work toward an independent RCMP detachment, as opposed to having policing provided from the Maple Ridge-based Ridge Meadows RCMP.

The city is still waiting for approval from the provincial Public Safety Minister and RCMP E Division. Dingwall is optimistic the city will get approval for its own detachment.

“We’re considerably different than Maple Ridge,” he said. “Maple Ridge is a big city, we’re a small town.”

“The nature of our crime is just not the same.”

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Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

I have been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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