I am writing in response to Darlene Mercer’s comments [Re: Letter writer encourages public to oppose new Pitt Meadows RCMP building, mapleridgenews.com, June 5].
The city is seeking to remove a small portion of park designated land (2,320 square metres or 24,972 square feet) directly north of the Heritage Hall. The vast majority of this area is currently located on concrete or covered by aging buildings.
Following a detailed site analysis, the Pitt Meadows Art Gallery/Athletic Building site was selected because it is the most cost-effective, meets a majority of the strict RCMP requirements, provides the opportunity for enhanced services in the existing recreation centre and presents few disruptions to community amenities.
Council is moving forward pending approval from the government of British Columbia. A “no” vote means an alternative location will be selected, costing an additional $2.25 to $6 million.
No baseball diamonds, parking or play spaces will be lost or impeded. Council is committed to keeping the baseball fields and art gallery services whole. If needed, the baseball diamond may shift 10 metres east or an additional field at the Pitt Meadows Athletic Park may be created. The spray park, playground, skate park and Heritage Hall will continue to operate as usual. Pitt Meadows Day will be as it always has.
We have, for a number of years, had extensive graffiti and vandalism at Harris Road Park. Locating the new RCMP detachment beside the park will make the area safer, protect our assets and save on costly repairs.
The existing art gallery building is aging and can be relocated to a new location, potentially to where the Community Policing Office is now, across from city hall and in the same building as the recreation centre.
The City’s Official Community Plan has identified the civic centre as an area for growth. Numerous walkable amenities and services such as: Waves, the Jolly Coachman, the library, the seniors’ centre, malls, Pitt Meadows Elementary school, daycares, and Spirit Square are close by, drawing significant foot traffic. In 2019, visits to the Pitt Meadows Family Recreation Centre totaled 135,000 whereas the art gallery was just 2,643 providing significant increased exposure. The civic centre offers excellent potential to rehome the art gallery.
Council is united in our belief that repatriating RCMP in our community will pay huge dividends for years to come. An independent RCMP detachment will provide enhanced police visibility, public safety, service levels and responsiveness in Pitt Meadows. The community feedback that we received to date demonstrates that our residents support this decision.
Bill Dingwall, Mayor, Pitt Meadows
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