Sandie Bannie is opposed to Pitt Meadows council move to put an RCMP detachment in a park. (Special to The News)

Sandie Bannie is opposed to Pitt Meadows council move to put an RCMP detachment in a park. (Special to The News)

LETTER: Pitt Meadows resident opposed to costly RCMP detachment for small population

Letter writer urges residents to voice opposition before June 28 deadline

Dear Editor,

Re: [Detachment the ‘right call’, The News, June 11]

I am totally opposed to Pitt Meadows Mayor Bill Dingwall and council’s plans to build a new $18 million police building.

Firstly, Pitt Meadows Community Police building was recently renovated and expanded at a cost of $926,439. The building has two jail cells, separate private offices, a large multi purpose room with cubicles, separate changing rooms for men and women, and a coffee room which I believe also has a TV.

Building a new structure in the location they are suggesting will result in 2,320 square metres of land being removed from the park bordering Harris Road and the Lougheed Highway.

We would lose parking spaces and a stand of beautiful shade trees and picnic area. Parking is difficult when the park is full and activities are taking place.

Currently our art gallery sits on the corner of this site, a great location for drive-by traffic and people walking to the shopping centre across the street.

Removal of the park land would require either moving the baseball diamond further into the park, further reducing the green space or moving it entirely down to the Bonson area. If it is moved to Bonson, this will cause inconvenience to residents who live close to the park.

To the best of my knowledge, the council have not done a separate cost analysis on an autonomous police detachment and with only a small 20,000-person population, Pitt Meadows will see tax increases.

This is such a serious decision that I believe it should go to a referendum so that everyone is fully informed. Residents have been blindsided as many of them didn’t know about it.

Despite the mayor suggesting that there is strong support, I am hearing that people are against this entire project and the removal of park land.

Many residents are stretched financially due to losing jobs or reduced working hours due to the pandemic and two major projects within a few years totalling $31 million in such a small city is outrageous.

I believe I am correct in saying that Port Coquitlam did a cost analysis on forming an autonomous police detachment, and it was dropped due to the costs involved which I believe would have been a tax increase of about 20 per cent to their residents and their population of 63,000 is larger than Pitt Meadows. I personally believe the city should concentrate on helping the residents fight CP.

The deadline for opposing this project is 4:30 p.m. on Monday June 28. Voting forms are available on Pitt Meadows City website.

Sandie Banni, Pitt Meadows

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• READ MORE: $1.4 million renovation for Pitt Meadows policing office


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