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COUNCIL ROUNDUP for Feb. 20

A bridge too far

The district is still looking into a pedestrian bridge between the Junction Mall and the Mission Hills Shopping Centre spanning the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks. An October 2005 report to council indicated a pedestrian/cyclist overpass would cost roughly $960,000 ($1.1 million in 2012 dollars).

In 2011 staff became aware of a provincial funding program that may help with some or all of the costs of the overpass. Previous grant applications, however, have been rejected, leading staff to recommend further talks with the local MLAs.

"In conversations with our MLA, Mr. [Randy] Hawes, we are going to see the ministry of transport put a proper walking path between Highways 7 and 11 and the Junction Shopping Centre," said Mayor Ted Adlem. "I don't know how quickly that's going to happen but I have it on reasonably good faith that it is going to become a reality fairly shortly."

Hawes clarified in an interview that it wouldn't be a new bridge, but likely a pedestrian addition to the existing bridge that spans the railway to the west of the Junction Mall.

Hawes said a new overpass comes with problems, including ensuring right-of-way access from property owners. He also indicated skepticism that shoppers would lug their groceries from one mall to the other on an overpass.

"That's just not in the cards. What is in the cards, I think, is a way to make it safe for people to walk along Highway 11, which is what they're doing now, but inside a protected area where there's a concrete barrier between them, the traffic and hopefully a way to get across the railway pass."

Since there's not enough room to add concrete dividers on the bridge, Hawes proposes to twin the span with a pedestrian walkway.

Above: Red line indicates the plan of Randy Hawes. The blue line represents a $990,000 solution (2005 dollars). The green line (mentioned in the story as being optimal) is $960,000. The yellow line is $1 million.

Back to Health... For Good was great

Former councillor Paul Horn and Mission Health Community Council's (MHCC) Ron Plowright led a delegation before council to discuss the results of the Jan. 14 Back to Health... For Good event at the Leisure Centre. The second annual event brought in 610 people, up 10 per cent from 2011, which Plowright said was impressive considering the snowstorm.

The event was created to address recommendations dating back to a 2009 community health plan put together by PricewaterhouseCoopers which suggested Mission work harder on health care prevention and promotion.

Mission was shown to be below the provincial standard in health statistics like teen pregnancy, deaths related to smoking, and diabetes.

"This event showcases our desire, I think, to be an innovative partner in health care," said Horn, adding the next community health council meeting (which was Feb. 21) will involve discussing a region-wide trade show in which other communities can discuss health-related matters.

"We want people to change their health behaviours," said Plowright. "We want to show them how they can do it and introduce them to the folks who can help them."

On the day of the event, residents had free access to the Leisure Centre, a flu vaccination clinic, and healthy eating room for kids, among other things.

The MHCC is jointly chaired by Mission council and Fraser Health Authority. Following the delegation, Mayor Ted Adlem led a standing ovation for the efforts of the MHCC.

Above: Paul Horn addresses council Monday evening.

Temporary waterfront permit approved

Council has voted to approve a $500 three-year temporary use permit for industrial and commercial businesses on the waterfront which have become non-compliant due to zoning changes in the area. The new permit will allow some time for businesses not currently allowed under existing zoning — such as a boat auction taking place on a mall parking lot — or to enable a use at that location to assess the practicality or "fit" in the zoning.

"It was felt that in order to retain [businesses] while they transition to whatever that waterfront's going to turn out to be, is we give people an opportunity to stay down there without causing a lot of cost to them," said deputy chief administrative officer Paul Gipps in a follow-up interview.

Staff estimated the cost to advertise, prepare and mail notification letters and application for the new permit would run between $700 and $1,000, including staff time and resources. But the hard costs were estimated at $500, which is why council decided to enact the permit at cost, not including the soft costs of staff labour.

Before the changes were made on Monday, a temporary use permit extension and renewal would have cost waterfront businesses $2,261.

Council may revisit the fee structure at a later time to recover some of the soft costs.

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