With a federal election upon us and municipal elections looming fall of 2022, I am wondering what happens between the point of a seemingly well-intentioned person running for public office ‘to represent the people and community’, and sometime after election when they become inviolate sole planners of ‘Our Future’.
I am thinking specifically of Pitt Meadows’ mayor and council and their campaign before our last civic election. They lambasted the previous administration for ‘not listening to the public’, specifically in respect to the Onni project in south Pitt Meadows. I remember Councillor Meachen publicly stated in social media how terrible it was that four people on council could decide the fate of the future of Pitt Meadows, seemingly without a thought about what the actual residents in Pitt Meadows thought about (previous) councils’ plans. There was a ruckus and voila, new mayor, some new council members.
Now we have a mayor and council roaring like a CP freight train through our city democratic process, cow catcher in front pushing aside all those who question, attempt to debate, or basically say ‘No’ to their run-away drive to push through rezoning of park land iconic Harris Road Park (Harris and McMyn), as well as separating from the Maple Ridge RCMP Detachment and planning to build a separate $18.25-plus million RCMP detachment in Pitt Meadows on the proposed rezoned park with basically no proper debate nor public pro/con analysis and debate. Unless of course, you count a pandemic lockdown open house with almost no attendees?
The city has tried to convince the public ‘it’s only a bit of parking lot’ at Harris Park, when in fact the surprised public find it is grassed green space with nine mature shade trees adjacent to the sidewalk, a picnic table, a portion of the home plate of the major ball diamond, viewing stands, two buildings including the Art Gallery, and yes, a bit of asphalt with parking. People do in fact use this area for picnics, get togethers and a pleasant walk through to both the gallery and the larger park and pre-COVID, it was used in conjunction with Pitt Meadows Day, and to have art and carving demonstrations at the Gallery.
So what happened? Did we vote in an inviolate government that ceases to listen to the public once elected? People are blocked from Facebook who express ‘counter council’ opinions (or city report-based information) on this no matter how civilly, and the mayor holds up the forbidding hand of ‘silence’ to residents who express to him via email disagreement with this initiative. According to his email, this matter is settled, it will go ahead. Council is unanimous – and the public’s opinion…
Residents need to once again be taken seriously by Pitt Meadows’ elected government by voicing their opinions and vision for the city in this matter. Keep emailing mayor, council and the solicitor general of B.C. (Mike Farnworth) who has to approve a new detachment. A petition against these initiatives is available through email@example.com.
Civil, democratic debate and expression of all residents’ vision of Pitt Meadows is needed now more than ever. Keep our police services where they are and improve our Service Agreement as necessary per the consultants option 2.
Our city should communicate with, and insist the MR Detachment follow the Service Agreement rather than putting our city into tax-altering debt along with the loss of part of our iconic Harris Road Park.
Darlene Mercer, Pitt Meadows
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