Pitt Meadows city councillors spoke in favour of relocating the art gallery to the Civic Centre near city hall, and building new gender neutral washrooms at Harris Road Park.
The decision to build the city’s coming autonomous RCMP detachment at 12492 Harris Rd. means displacing both the Pitt Meadows Art Gallery (PMAG) and the athletic building there.
Staff gave council a report with options for both new PMAG locations, and a washrooms/concession building designs.
Just Hart, city manager of major projects, said the projects should be improvements on the displaced facilities.
Councillors spoke in favour of a new gender neutral “washblock” project in Harris Road Park, which will include 16 completely private gender neutral stalls, three standalone washrooms, storage space and a concession with cooking facilities. It would cost an estimated $1.77 million.
The art gallery site feasibility study looked at four permanent locations. One would be next to a coming heritage site, which will house the Pitt Meadows Museum and Hoffman’s Garage. The museum must be moved to make way for a new CP Rail Underpass at Harris Road, and will be moved across the street.
Hart said the city could either move the existing PMAG building to the heritage site, or construct a new building.
The South Bonson Community Centre activity room was suggested, but members of the arts community spoke against it.
Patricia Gordon said it would result in a loss of amenity space there. Linda Nelson said an earlier attempt at an art gallery in South Bonson was not successful, and she would rather see the art gallery in the civic centre.
Hart’s report also proposed the existing community police office and the daycare space at the Pitt Meadows Family Recreation Centre. His report also looked at six different temporary locations.
The art gallery relocation cost estimates range from $369,000 to $1.42 million.
Funding for both projects would come from city reserves, based on staff recommendations.
Mayor Bill Dingwall said he would support the gender neutral washroom, and also the community policing office as a place for the art gallery, and other councillors agreed.
Coun. Tracy Miyashita, who chaired the meeting, said the art gallery should be in a visible location, and wanted to see the city explore options at the new heritage site being created near the CP Rail underpass.
The washblock design and construction should start this year, and will be completed in the second quarter of 2023.
The art gallery will also be relocated in early 2023.
No final decisions were made at the meeting of the engagement and priorities committee on May 17. Council accepted the report as information, and directed staff to come up with a recommended art gallery site and conceptual design for the washbblock. The issue will be back before council in June.
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