A petition launched in early September opposing the re-zoning of the Park Land at Harris Rd. Park and the proposed RCMP detachment for Pitt Meadows, has seen growing support.
Petitioner Darlene Mercer, who started this signature campaign has now collected over 400 signatures and plans to submit this “first batch” of signatures to the city next week.
The petition titled “Petition against removal of Parkland & formation of new RCMP detachment”, started by Pitt Meadows resident Mercer, is in response to the council’s proposed project to rezone 2,300 square meters of parkland north of the Pitt Meadows Heritage Hall, to use as the site for a new police detachment. Mercer is against both, the new detachment, as well as the rezoning of the parkland.
“There are very strong reactions from the public both on removal of cherished park land as well as the tremendous amount of debt the City is determined to place on its taxpayers for something we don’t need and that there are even Consultant-offered alternatives for,” said Mercer.
She maintains that the process followed by the city to reach the decision for rezoning for the detachment was not democratic.
The city used an alternate approval process in early 2021, to rezone 2,300 square meters of parkland at the site currently occupied by the Pitt Meadows Art Gallery and storage building. With the alternative approval process, the proposal would have failed if 10 per cent i.e. 1,431 of the city’s 14,311 eligible voters were against the rezoning. The city however received only 202 valid response forms.
“Almost all residents I talk to on this matter and its associated matter of De-Integration feel that use of the AAP [alternate approval process] for park land removal was, and is a patently non-democratic process. Almost 100 per cent of those I speak to going door to door, were completely unaware of the details of the process including its having been underway, and how this process worked,” said Mercer.
“If you were unaware of it or did not register a ‘No’ vote, you were officially voting ‘Yes’ on the proposal. It was in fact not an endorsement of Council’s wish to remove park land, but an absence of knowledge resulting in a type of ‘default’ voting which under any normal democratic process would have been ‘null’ votes,” she said.
Mercer will be organizing a signing drive at Harris Rd. Park on Saturday, depending on the weather, and said that while she will be making a partial submission to the city after this, she will also continue gathering more signatures and raising awareness about the issue.
“Our dedicated volunteers continue to gather signatures and hold signing events, and we are hoping to have some ‘satellite’ signing resident homes in the near future with a copy of the sign form in front of my home and an outside, available petition,” she said.
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