Pitt Meadows council rejects ‘industrial’ design concept for new RCMP building

Staff to return with update design
A proposed conceptual design for the new RCMP detachment in Pitt Meadows features an exterior of glass and iron. City of Pitt Meadows photo

Pitt Meadows council got a look at two potential conceptual designs for the city’s new RCMP building. They didn’t all like what they saw.

“It’s modern. It’s beautiful. But when I look at it, I see that it could belong really in any city in Canada and this isn’t any city, this is Pitt Meadows,” said Coun. Anena Simpson, appearing at the May 3 regular council meeting by video. “I’m not seeing the signature small town heritage feeling of Pitt Meadows when I look at this building.”

She referenced a coldness in the design echoed by Coun. Mike Hayes. 

“I’m not a fan,” he said. “I think it’s cold. I think it’s boxy. It’s almost industrial and quite honestly, I’ve had my fill of industrial buildings in Pitt Meadows, so I think we can do so much better. Soften it a bit.”

Respecting Heritage Hall

Bassem Tahfek of KMBR Architects Planning presented both conceptual options to council. 

He said when designing the building, they tried to be respectful of the neighbouring Heritage Hall

“We’re trying to keep it really pure,” he said. “Basically what we have is a simple glass box and natural material around it giving covers.”

If the corresponding indoor area needs windows, the exterior will be glass; if no windows are needed, or privacy is required, that’s where the steel comes in.

One of the materials proposed is raw steel, which rusts and changes colour over time. 

It’s a similar concept to the Summerland RCMP detachment, which KMBR also worked on. 

The two conceptual designs for the Pitt Meadows detachment are the same when it comes to outdoor parking and the look of the exterior. Inside is where the differences lie. One option factors in future needs of the community for growth, while the other is smaller.

Go big, with updated design

The first option, estimated at $21,073,000 is 1,722 square-metres and the front area of the first floor off Harris Road would be dedicated to volunteer and bylaw, with RCMP occupying the rest of the building. Option B, estimated at $21,733,000 would be slightly larger, at 1,816 square-metres and would have more space for volunteers and bylaw.

The city approved a bylaw in February this year for a $20-million loan and is proposing to use $1,733,000 from the Facilities and Fixtures Reserve Fund – Major Buildings Reserve.

Most councillors supported the larger option, but when it came time for a decision, the motion on the floor – to approve Option B – was withdrawn and council voted to allow chief administrative officer Mark Roberts to incorporate council’s design feedback with the higher budget and larger space and to come back with a revised design.

“We’re almost there,” said Mayor Bill Dingwall.

Roberts advised that the timeline would be pushed back by about a month with the decision. The next steps once a conceptual design is approved by council include a detailed design phase with construction estimated to begin in April 2023 and for the building to be complete in March 2025.

A wider view of the conceptual design facade for the new RCMP building in Pitt Meadows, as seen from Harris Road. City of Pitt Meadows photo

Play ball

The construction of the building means that Ridge Meadows Minor Baseball’s Diamond 1, which is home to its peewee (under-13) teams at Harris Park will have to move. The association is optimistic the diamond can be moved to Pitt Meadows Athletic Park.

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