After more than a year in office, The Record sat down with Mayor Ted Adlem to discuss his experiences, changes he’s been making and what Mission residents can look forward to this year.
Q: What’s it like being mayor? Is it what you imagined it to be?
A: To be mayor of the District of Mission is simple the greatest honour I have had in my lifetime. The job is everything that I had imagined it would be. The learning curve to begin with was huge. To be the leader of a group of people in the community that make policy for our community and see that the policy is carried out is very exciting.
Q: Since becoming mayor, what have you learned about this community that you didn’t know before?
A: The largest surprise for me was the dedication and number of people who volunteer their time for the many different groups in the community. Without this large dedicated group of people the District of Mission would not be what it is today.
Q: What projects or accomplishments are you most proud of in your first year in office?
A: There are several:
• A zero per cent tax increase in 2012 and for the first time in Mission’s history, and council passed a municipal budget in advance of the fiscal year.
• The initiation and completion of our Core Services Review. This was done to streamline the district’s operations. As the result of the Core Services Review, an organizational restructuring was approved and implemented which resulted in ongoing operation savings of approximately $600,000 per year.
• We made a commitment to be the most business friendly community in the Lower Mainland. Because of our efforts in this area, we were recently recognized as one of the top 25 communities in Western Canada to do business.
• We initiated a water supply and demand study for the District of Mission. Our study concluded that there is no urgency in regard to running out of water for the foreseeable future.
• On a personal note I was very pleased that council approved dedicating a portion of Logan Avenue to be Veterans Way.
Q: Can you update us on some of the major developments such as Sturgeons on the Fraser and Carhoun and Sons development on Lougheed and Wren.
A: Both of these developments have received the support they were seeking from our community and I look forward to both moving ahead in 2013.
Q: What other developments can we look forward to?
A: We have initiated and funded a major downtown planning process to revitalize Mission’s downtown. This will be a major focus to keep an eye on in 2013.
Q: In your election campaign you said you wouldn’t create a communications position at municipal hall. How is the manager of citizen’s engagement and corporate initiatives different?
A: The council of the day in 2011 was concerned that they were not getting their message out correctly. In order to get their message out, they chose to hire a communications person on a short contract. We felt that this was a political hire when they chose to hire a former mayor of Maple Ridge for the job. Our campaign said we would get rid of that contract person. We called the position the Spin Doctor. I do not believe I need anyone to get my message out correctly other than myself.
Moving forward I see our position being one that solicits feedback from the community on various issues that we will be dealing with over the next several years. An example would be the subject of water meters. Should they be implemented and how this should be done in the opinion of the public. Generally the vocal minority is heard and the silent majority does not get to be heard. This new position would be designed to ensure that the all citizen’s get their word to council.
Q: How will you improve public safety (including fire and policing) without increasing taxes?
A: I do not believe that the solution to these issues is to throw more money their way. I know we have adequate policing in our community. We, as a council, have asked that the police in our community set priorities to service the community correctly. I believe that that is being done today.
We have a good fire protection service. We have eight full-time fire people as well as a compliment of volunteers. I believe our current system is more than adequate for our community as it exists today. We are well served by both fire and police today with current budgets.
Q: What are your goals as mayor in 2013?
A: • To continue to act in a fiscally responsible manner and give the taxpayers of Mission value for their dollar.
• To work with my fellow members of council to ensure that we are the most business friendly community in the Lower Mainland.
• 2013 will see the beginning of the redevelopment of downtown.