Council is considering changing Mission's classification from district to city.

District or city: What’s right for Mission?

Council is considering changing its classification from district to city.

Should Mission brand itself as a city?

The idea of changing the District of Mission’s classification was briefly debated in January, but quickly set aside. Now, the idea has resurfaced.

On Monday, district staff presented a report to council recommending moving forward with the reclassification, noting the city moniker could increase the ability to attract and retain business – more effectively than the district classification – and should reduce confusion between the District of Mission and the Fraser Valley Regional District.

Mayor Randy Hawes suggested staff work with the Mission Chamber of Commerce to poll the business community to see if they feel being a city would be an attractant.

“Does it seem to the outside world when you say District of Mission that we’re sort of, maybe, a backwoods-type of community as opposed to a progressive city?” asked Hawes

Coun. Jim Hinds pointed out that Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge are all former districts that decided to become cities.

“All of them have decided that it makes more sense and people from the outside look at a city as a more progressive place than a district, which is a rural area,” he said.

“To me, looking at the City of Mission, it says we’ve finally grown up,” added Hinds.

While not opposed to the idea, Coun. Pam Alexis asked staff to check with the chamber on how its rebranding initiative is progressing.

The chamber, along with community futures, has been trying to develop a new brand – possibly including a logo and slogan – to help define Mission.

Alexis believes if a change in classification is called for, it should be done simultaneously with the rebranding to avoid doubling up on costs.

The staff report indicates it should cost about $38,000 to make the change. Most of that would be to purchase new signage, stationery items and other materials.

After the meeting, Hawes said the proposed designation change was merely a matter of perception to potential investors or new residents. He said there would be no impact on taxation or how the district is run.

To be classified as a city in B.C., a population of more than 5,000 people is needed.