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LETTER: Pitt Meadows council off base with RCMP building estimate

Pitt Meadows resident said small community can't afford new detachment for $18- to $24-million

Dear Editor,

I absolutely disagree with the mayor of our small Pitt Meadows community that we need to go into debt for $18- to $24-million to build a completely new, state of the art facility for a small RCMP detachment of ‘our own’.

While we are not currently served enormously well by a local community policing office that is only open 8 to 4 Monday to Friday (and otherwise the Maple Ridge detachment serves us), this does not make it a financially responsible move of our city, mayor and council to force us into even greater debt and guaranteed higher taxes for what will be an edifice on Harris Road and McMyn.

At this time of COVID when everyone is just trying to come out of this unscathed physically, mentally and financially, putting this forward when everyone is so pre-occupied, when council meetings are still virtual, is I feel morally unjust.

‘Sneaking’ this really tremendous municipal debt load in the back door of a COVID-weary small population is poor judgment and unjustified.

Good heavens, we can’t even (apparently) afford to fix the washrooms at Harris Road Park!

I am sure that the current RCMP offices by our municipal hall could do with upgrades and perhaps a bit more space (if we are to have more policing hours than we do now), and it seems to me far more reasonable financially to renovate and if needed expand that segment of the recreation centre to accommodate our needs.

Or how about we transfer the daycare now using the much larger ‘old library’ to the rec centre and renovate that much larger, more visible building to suit what we need?

Current plans have us demolishing our current art gallery which is ideally placed for its purpose (high visibility in a high foot traffic part of our little city) in a repurposed building, and stuffing it into a near windowless little office space tucked away where no one will ever see it – death to any gallery I have ever heard of except in the most art-oriented cities!

COVID is not the time to propose and push ahead with mega million dollar plans for grand facilities while everyone is hurting in every imaginable way. We need to step back from the ‘shiny new building’ syndrome and put this on hold while we all catch our breath, get our shots, and are able to debate this properly with the city, and no doubt come up with less financially strangling strategies.

Darlene Mercer, Pitt Meadows

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