Pitt Meadows council reviewed design drawings and financing for its new autonomous RCMP detachment building, which will cost $21.7 million.
After the May 3 meeting, councillors sent the architect back to the drawing board to change the exterior of the building, saying the proposed steel and glass look was not the image they wanted.
Justin Hart, city manager of major projects, and Bassem Tawfik of KMBR Architects Planners presented the drawings of the two-storey building. It will be erected at the site of the Pitt Meadows Art Gallery and athletic building in the 12400 block of Harris Road. The site also took a 10 meter wide strip of land off the adjacent ball diamond.
Council chose not to build underground parking. It would have increased the cost by $5 million, and RCMP requirement to have two ramps would take up too many parking spaces to make it viable at that cost.
Councillors spoke in favour of a building option 1,816 square meters in size, with space to accommodate the city bylaws department, police volunteers and further growth.
Staff clearly heard that council wants a big building.
Supt. Wendy Mehat of Ridge Meadows RCMP, and part of the de-integration team, said having bylaws and RCMP in the same building could be a “huge benefit” when they are working on programs together. She also spoke to the need for having room for growth.
Coun. Tracy Miyashita said she would rather build bigger than undertake expensive renovations in the future, and Coun. Gwen O’Connell said council should approve a building large enough to accommodate growth for 50 years.
“This building marks the beginning of us being able to provide for our community more safety, better value for our policing dollars, and quality of life,” said Coun. Anena Simpson.
She called the proposed building modern and beautiful, but said it could be found in any city in Canada, and the steel and glass had a “coldness.”
“I’m not seeing the signature small-town heritage feeling of Pitt Meadows when I look at this building,” Simpson said, asking for a design with “something that hearkens a little bit to the past, and our uniqueness.”
Coun. Mike Hayes agreed the steel and glass lacked warmth. He called the exterior boxy, and said “I’ve had my fill of industrial buildings in Pitt Meadows.”
Coun. Nicole MacDonald said she would like to see more wood or faux wood, and public art might add character to the building.
Staff will come back to council with new plans, which will include a “softer look,” said CAO Mark Roberts.
On May 10, council will deal with a police building loan, and a recommendation from staff to approve borrowing $20 million from the Municipal Finance Authority over a 30-year term.
The city will also take $1.7 million from its reserve funds. Equipment and furniture is included in the budget.
The city’s timeline will see it complete a detailed design through the current year, with construction to start in April 2023, and completion by March of 2025.
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