Pitt Meadows is on the doorstep of establishing the city’s first RCMP office.
A new RCMP branch is likely coming to a pair of city-owned lots at 12484 and 12492 Harris Road, after Pitt Meadows council unanimously granted third reading to a bylaw that would rezone the existing land.
The move, which has been years in the making, would also finally give Pitt Meadows autonomy from Maple Ridge police services.
Currently, Ridge Meadows RCMP officers patrol both Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
A 2019 study released by the RCMP Police Services Review, suggested that Pitt Meadows should launch an independent police department.
But the proposed location of the new detachment building has caused discomfort for some Pitt Meadows residents.
The city held a public hearing on developing the new RCMP site in April, which saw some Pitt Meadows residents express concerns about the loss of trees and parkland from neighbouring Harris Road Park.
“Key themes from the [public] hearing included a preference for the RCMP detachment to be located at a different site,” stated Colin O’Byrne, manager of planning, at a Jun. 6 council meeting.
A portion of Harris Road Park and eight trees are slated to get removed to make room for the detachment.
But O’Byrne announced at the meeting that 15 new trees are scheduled to be planted when the RCMP development is complete.
He added that the location is centrally located within the city and highly visible, which were two key factors that led the city to pick the Harris Road location.
“Council did consider multiple possibilities for the site and cited several factors in choosing the site, including it was the lowest cost option,” he announced. “There are no disruptions to police operations and it is outside both the agricultural land reserve and floodplain.”
The location for the new detachment was selected in 2021.
A portion of the site was previously designated as parkland, however, that same year, council granted a decision to remove that designation and convert roughly one tenth of an acre from Harris Road Park into the new RCMP site.
The remaining 10 acres of Harris Road Park will remain unchanged, O’Byrne stated.
The Pitt Meadows Art Gallery was also relocated to make way for the detachment.
The gallery, which previously occupied 12492 Harris Road, closed in January and will transition into the Pitt Meadows Civic Centre later this year.
A temporary pop-up gallery has been installed in the lobby of City Hall in the meantime.
The Ridge reported in 2021 that some residents were not keen on seeing the gallery relocated and parkland removed for the new RCMP station.
A date for a third and final reading regarding the new autonomous RCMP branch will be scheduled at a future council meeting.
The city wrote in December that construction of the new building will be complete in 2025.