I felt compelled to respond to the most recent Darlene Mercer letter to the editor about the RCMP de-integration.
It is wrong on so many levels and suggests that I/we are deceiving our public around costs, taxes, future taxes, park and sport service levels, and the future of the art gallery. It challenges my honesty and integrity (as well as our CAO and other members of council), and represents a trend of being alarmist, false and misleading.
Notably, other than unsubstantiated and false financial numbers, she does not comment on the merits of the unanimous council decision which is also supported by Katzie First Nation, Maple Ridge, the RCMP, the province and our community (e.g. improved service levels, enhanced public safety and confidence, quicker response time, significantly better return on investment, ownership of a building versus ever-increasing rent, localized priority setting, etc.).
While it is once again an election year, I loathe this type of politics and judging by the last term election results, so does our community.
Ms. Mercer is a long-time friend of a member of the last council. On Sept. 29, 2018, just before the last election, Ms. Mercer made a totally false and fabricated FB post on Protecting Pitt Meadows (A site with almost 6,600 people) about my desire to amalgamate with Maple Ridge, which is a completely untruthful reflection of my view. It was anything but innocent and given its nature, appears clearly intended to alarm, plant seeds of doubt and negatively influence voting.
In her letter, Ms. Mercer states the city has already spent $3 million on studies with up to $30 million more for a detachment.
The publicly and well documented true costs are that the initial February 2020 consultant contract (Blueline Vantage) was $39,798.49 excl GST, the KMBR Feasibility Study December 2020 to February 2021 was $62,440 excl. and the survey approximately $7,500 to $8,000 for an approximate total of $100,000. The KMBR Consulting architectural designs (part of the overall project costs and budgeting) was $991,349. This total is roughly $1,091,000, not $3M (=275 cent higher).
The $18.2 million project costs also include detachment design and construction, relocating the art gallery, demolition of the old brick building and transition. The city also set aside another $1.8 million as a contingency. Her figure of up to $30 million represents a 55 per cent increase over the projected costs of $18.2 million. Our figures reflect significant consultation with the RCMP, who are in the business of building detachments, and a professional consultant.
She also speaks about inaccurate metrics used by myself and the city about citizens opposed/in favour of a small parcel of parkland removal, yet a long time provincially approved and often used process by local government was followed and exceeded. Just over one per cent of those able to vote indicated they were not in favour.
Ms. Mercer also states that the CPO renovations cost $1.3 million noteworthy that the CPO is just a sub-office with limited operational space, does not meet current security standards and as noted by the consultant, would require even more money to bring it up to standard than building a new detachment.
She also completely misrepresents the issue of taxes and suggests that we were claiming this year’s taxes are amongst the lowest (in Metro Vancouver). There is no foundation for this, rather it appears to be a spin to suit an agenda, an outcome, to hurt someone politically. In accordance with our news release, for five to six years Pitt Meadows has had the lowest average taxes for a single-family home in Metro Vancouver, not, as Ms. Mercer purports, that we have the lowest tax “increase” this year. This misrepresentation by Ms. Mercer again appears to be by design and not an oversight or simply out of context.
Whether as a surrogate for others, or a candidate in this year’s election, proper context, truth, integrity and facts should matter.
Mayor Bill Dingwall, Pitt Meadows
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