City Councillor, Mission, BC
Council is not about one person, but about a team who work together through a Strategic Plan, to ensure we address ongoing concerns, set a vision and set goals for our term of council. Each initiative is debated and voted upon as to its priority and, once voted upon, it is forwarded to staff in order to develop a strategy to follow through. At budget time, it is critical to vet every goal through a financial lens, as we determine how it moves forward.
All in all, nothing progresses forward without the willingness to work together, with the key objective, of what is best for the community. In this term of council, we undertook a great deal of planning and a commitment to complete the sewer crossing. These objectives were very bold for our community to undertake. In addition to taxing our short term financing, they placed a significant amount of strain on our staff resources.
In reality we completed a great deal, in preparing well for future development and set ourselves up for a stable financial future.
Council Key Initiatives
This project has undergone extensive public consultation and safety analysis. It was recently approved, with the inclusion of a signalized light at 7th and Murray. I am in full support of this project. It will not only increase safety along 7th, but will provide for all kinds of mobility. It is a critical link to many amenities along 7th Avenue, including a number of schools and churches, the Leisure Center, and Fraser River Heritage Park.
Silverdale Central Neighbourhood Plan
This plan encompasses 1800 acres in the Silverdale area. Currently, it is the largest land planning exercise in the lower mainland. This is a significant step for our community, and l am proud to see this come forward as a completed plan. To reach such a milestone, there have been a multitude of steps that had to be followed. Council undertook a complete Master Infrastructure Study to better understand capacity needs, environmental concerns and costing of key elements in determining the viability of such a large project. Presently, the Silverdale Central Neighbourhood Plan is still up for consideration, with the next step being a public hearing. As outlined in the plan this project will provide over 10,400 homes, 3 civic sites, 3 elementary schools, 108 acres of park, 672acres of forest, one high school and 4 commercial sites. It demonstrates a very well thought out process, with a focus on protecting valuable green space.
The completion of this project was a major success story for the City of Mission. It has taken many years of technical work, environmental approvals and land negotiations to see this become a reality. This significant addition to our service capacity will provide confidence to the community and developers that we are absolutely ready for future growth.
Having enough water for future growth is a concern for many in our community, considering the frequent requirement to conserve water in summer months. The City of Mission works jointly with the City of Abbotsford, and operates three water sources to serve our community. They are Norrish Creek, Cannell Lake and 15 Wells located in Abbotsford.. We have a capacity of about 128mld, with our peak days last reaching about 102mld per day (during the heat dome). Throughout the year, we average 70mld. The objective is to continue to monitor and conserve water on an ongoing basis, in order to delay capital expansion as long as possible. As growth happens, we are preparing and developing an additional water source for the future. This new source will add 25mld a day. The City of Mission will have to install water meters and continue conservation measures to avoid costly upgrades in the foreseeable future.
Council is often asked, "Can Mission handle new development?" In the past four years, the City of Mission has invested in preparing for such development. The Transportation Master Plan has outlined an investment needed of $335-$425 million dollars over the next 28 years. The Utility Master Plan requires an investment of $157 million dollars over the next 25 years. A portion of these costs will be offset by DCC rates of new development. It will be challenging in the forthcoming years to replace aging infrastructure without the aid of new taxation, development opportunities and grant funding.
The ideal would be to have already planned development throughout the community. In the last 4 years, council has adopted a plan for Stave Heights, added park land to the Cedar Valley Area Plan, brought forward a Central Neighbourhood Plan for Silverdale, as well as developed a Waterfront Revitalization initiative. These steps are important to meeting the objectives of our Official Community Plan. The concern l have is the development in our urban core. With such a demand to redevelop older properties, as well as the limited land mass on the commercial core along Lougheed Highway, there is a tendency to build out in a piecemeal manner. There is a need for a cohesive approach without losing the enthusiasm of the building community.
This project began almost four years ago, as Council determined to lead the undertaking with an intent to engage all land holders within this designated 296 acre site. Since the inception of the plan, there had been a roadmap laid out to work through. Each step of the project was a milestone, with a report to council and to the public.
With more concrete plans in place now, this will come before the public for input and council consideration. Council undertook this project with the desire to see our waterfront potential become a reality. Over the years, there has been much debate about development and the need for a bypass. Without someone taking charge, it could not happen. Council invested $2 million dollars and a grant from FCM to get this project underway. Key considerations were land fragmentation, flood mitigation and risk to development. The objective was to see a viable plan that was
pleasing, economically viable, attractive for good development and saw the construction of a new bypass. I am grateful for the staff and consultant efforts that have enabled us to get to this point.
The addition of a new Youth Center and the Griner Park Pump Track had been essential to keeping our Mission youth busy. There is a great deal more that has to be done in the coming years, which include new playground equipment and general public park upgrades. Community amenity funds can support new initiatives in the community and l will work towards utilizing this opportunity.
The City has worked hard with community partners to support those struggling with issues like homelessness, addiction, mental health and crime. A housing coordinator has been hired in order to support our Manager of Social Development, and we recently approved our
Supportive Housing Strategy. We are continuing to work with BC Housing, as new opportunities arise. As we all know, mental health, addiction and crime are ongoing concerns, and Council recently approved funds to host an addiction workshop. We continue to push the Provincial Government to open up beds for mental health. We can all be proud of the responsiveness of our community team members, from street level issues to superb staff personnel. We have a Mayor who has a history of working in this area, and I will continue to support community initiatives, and go above and beyond to push other levels of government to do more.