COUNCIL ROUND-UP for Feb. 6

All the happenings you need to know about in your municipal hall council meeting

District of Mission municipal hall

Seniors’ group asks council for discount

The Mission Association for Seniors Housing appeared as a delegation before council to ask for a 50 per cent discount to development cost charges in building affordable housing for seniors. See full story here.

Chamber wants Fraser Valley business license

The Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce has asked Mission to implement a regional business license agreement that would work across participating municipalities in the Fraser Valley. See full story here.

Fraser Health unhappy about parking at new hospital

The Fraser Health Authority submitted a letter to council expressing its displeasure with the issue of pay parking at the new hospital and campus of care. At a Nov. 28 public hearing, council rejected a proposed installation of pay parking at the new site, maintaining the position of previous councils.

In the letter by Fraser Health, Ken Mah writes that pay parking was “assumed in the business case for the project at the outset and is an essential part of the funding model.”

Fraser Health will now enter in a Memorandum of Understanding with Mission stipulating that it will commit to no pay parking for the public for five years, however, “Fraser Health may introduce pay parking for its own employees in the near future.”

The letter goes on to say that pay parking for public and staff at all hospital sites is policy and helps pay for hospital operating costs. The number of parking stalls for the new facility will rise to 332 from 213.

The mayor, however, has comments

Council voted Monday to send an Agricultural Land Reserve application to exclude four properties from the reserve on to the commission with “no comment”, meaning that the district is officially taking neither a supporting, nor an opposing view.

Mayor Ted Adlem, however, voted against sending the application, feeling that the reasons given by the land owners weren’t articulated. In a followup interview, Adlem elaborated.

“I read the staff report and it said to me that they had no interest in subdividing. So, I asked myself the question, ‘why would you want to take it out of the ALR?’ The only other reason would be to increase the value of the property, and that to me wasn’t something I felt we should be doing,” he said.

Adlem said that if the report indicated the property owners would be willing to subdivide the properties at some point in the future that would have been reason to consider letting the application go through.

Funding for last phase of waterfront study approved

The final phase of the $411,000 waterfront feasibility study will go forward after council voted to approve the $30,000 budget. Full story here.

New council steps down from previous stance on communications officer

The six-month contract for the communications officer, Kathy Morse, is up Feb. 24 and it will not be renewed, according to Mayor Ted Adlem. Axing the position was one of the campaign promises of the Citizens for Responsible Municipal Government who swept into office. During the campaign, several CRMG members characterized the creation of the position as a “spin doctor” hired by the then-council to cover up their own bad decisions.

Since the election of the new council, however, no further mention was made of either Morse or the communications officer in a negative light. To that end, former Coun. Mike Scudder asked in question period whether the council would clarify that Morse is not being let go for the aforementioned reasons stated by CRMG during the election, but that it was purely an economical move for budget constraints.

“I’ve had many very positive and good interactions with Kathy Morse, the person, and I have a great deal of respect for her and her ability,” said Adlem. “We weren’t talking during the election about Kathy Morse the person, we were talking about a position, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the human being who I think is an excellent person.”

“During the election, during all the rhetoric that was said on both sides, from this council her name was never mentioned once in public or in any documentation,” said Coun. Dave Hensman. “We always talked about the position. So, just for the clarity of it, we have never spoken in any way negative about her. She’s a wonderful person and a great public servant and has contributed much in her life and career to public service.”

Adlem said it was “definitely a financial decision at this point” to not renew the contract of the communications officer.