Pitt Meadows mayor Bill Dingwall. (THE NEWS/files)

Pitt Meadows mounted police a step closer

Council votes to seek permission of government, RCMP to form its own detachment

Pitt Meadows is proceeding with its own RCMP detachment.

Council, at its Tuesday meeting, voted to confirm its intention to request an independent RCMP detachment for Pitt Meadows and told staff to write to the minister of public safety and the RCMP asking permission.

Once the RCMP approves of a Pitt Meadows detachment, the city will develop a communications and transition plan. Currently, Pitt Meadows shares its policing services with Maple Ridge at the Ridge Meadows detachment in Maple Ridge.

“A city’s number one job is ensuring the safety of the community while getting the best possible service and value for our dollars,” Mayor Bill Dingwall said Wednesday.

READ MORE: Pitt Meadows looking at its own RCMP office

“The evidence is clear that the best way to achieve this is through the creation of our own independent RCMP detachment. The community feedback that we received demonstrates that our residents support this decision,” Dingwall said.

“Our council’s vision of a visible and active police service will mean that police are integrated into and involved in our community,” Dingwall added.

“Our goal is to enhance police visibility, public safety, service levels and responsiveness within the same operating budget.”

Residents were invited to a council meeting Feb. 18 at Pitt Meadows Heritage Hall to learn about the police services review. Those who were unable to attend were invited to provide feedback online at haveyoursaypittmeadows.ca from Feb. 19 to March 1.

READ MORE: Pitt Meadows police review trotted out to public

The results showed that 62 per cent of respondents supported an independent RCMP detachment. Another 18 per cent of comments were undetermined and 20 per cent did not provide support, said the City of Pitt Meadows news release.

The same feedback included concern for potential increases in property taxes as well as the cost and availability of resources.

Chief administrative officer Mark Roberts said there will be transitional costs that would require a one-time capital investment for detachment headquarters.

“The existing operating (police) budget is $5.4 million and it’s anticipated that the independent police detachment can be accommodated within the city’s annual operating budget without a property tax increase,” Roberts said.

In addition, over the following few months, a business case will be developed to either renovate the current community policing office or build a new detachment. So far, the city has set aside $1.5 million for the transition to its own detachment.



pmelnychuk@mapleridgenews.com

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