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Community police station in Burquitlam opens next to the new YMCA

Coquitlam RCMP's new community police station is located at 555 Emerson St.

Natalie Thomas remembers the day the Burquitlam Community Police Station opened.

A quarter-century later, the longtime Coquitlam resident is still volunteering to help with crime-related issues in the area — but from a different office now.

On Monday (April 3), Thomas was at the new station with coordinator Julie Lanyon for its soft opening.

Located half a block away, in the new Bettie Allard YMCA building (555 Emerson St.), the 3,925-sq-ft. space "is just phenomenal," Thomas said.

"It's so bright and new. It is very exciting to be a part of it."

Temporarily open on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesdays from 1 to 4 p.m. until vacancies are filled, the street-level community station has a front counter — operated by volunteers and city staff — to support on-duty Mounties, as well as to liaise with the public on things like paperwork for criminal record checks, safety and crime-prevention programs, such as Citizens Crime Watch and Speed Watch, and lost and found items.

There are also two meeting rooms in the front with administration in the back.

And police have five dedicated parking spots along Emerson to make their stops while on patrol.

The station is part of the City of Coquitlam's Heart of Burquitlam project with Concert Properties, which is constructing high-rise towers east of the aging strip mall on Clarke Road, and the Greater Vancouver YMCA.

Morguard Investments also has plans to add more towers on its land, to the south of Safeway.

"It's going to be a very busy area when it’s all done," Thomas said, adding, "With so much foot traffic, we'd like to see more volunteers at our station."

There are four community police stations run by Coquitlam/Port Coquitlam RCMP: Burquitlam, Ridgeway, Mary Hill and Coast Meridian.

To volunteer, you can call the detachment's main line at 604-945-1550 or visit its website.