MISSION VOTES 2018: Council candidates share their views

The Mission Record asked council candidates to answer two questions. here are their replies

The Mission Record reached out to all 19 council candidates in the Oct. 20 municipal election and asked them the same two questions. We asked them to keep their answers to about 250 words. The questions are:

1. What are the biggest or most important issues in Mission?

2. What is your vision for Mission’s future?

Here are their responses:

KELLY

APOSTOLIUK

1. Below are some of the items I will be working towards if elected:

– Working with the public, other councillors and the mayor. I am sure we can come up with a plan to encourage the secondary suites (possibly lowering the property tax for SDU) and hopefully increase the amount of rentals and cut down on the amount of illegal suites to better protect both renters and landlords.

– Finding creative ways to move industry not reliant on the Fraser River away from the waterfront and into other areas supported by appropriate infrastructure so that we can continue with the waterfront revitalization project. This may include rezoning of lands.

– All new strata development exceeding 24 units must include a small park or playground.

– As projects are finished, we need time for various services and utilities to catch up, so we must pace the expansion without alienating developers and investors.

– Continue with the projects currently underway and new projects – another water park with possibly a swimming pool, among other things – as time and funding permit.

If this appeals to you, vote Kelly A. on election day.

2. My view for Mission is to have a city where each individual is part of a community and where the city hosts more events that draw people to come shop at our beautiful downtown, and one day stroll to the riverfront for more shopping, entertainment, and arts and culture.

We could have fresh farm produce available beside a dock and outdoor cafes. Mission’s beautiful setting is ripe with possibilities!

CAL

CRAWFORD

1. Direct feedback from many of the people I have talked to in Mission indicates there are two issues that are prominent with our citizens. One is the cost of housing and the other is the homeless and addiction problem.

On the housing issue, I believe a mayor and council should ensure that a proper long-term community plan is in place, that the process a developer has to go through at city hall is as efficient as it can be, and that we do the best we can to ensure that we are encouraging a housing supply that meets all of our residential needs.

On the homeless and addiction issue, mayor and council must continue to search for ways to address this issue, and I would support the numerous groups and organizations in our community who are working hard to address the many different and perplexing facets of this problem.

2. I believe Mission is at a critical point in its development. It is crucial that we develop an all inclusive long-term vision. We must establish what we want to see Mission grow and develop into in the coming years. We need to know what we want to be before we can plan how to get there.

Our municipal government needs to reconnect with the citizens it represents and move ahead in a unified direction. Let’s create a vision that encompasses all of our wants and needs and let’s do it together. We have many items that need to be addressed in a long-term vision. We have housing, traffic flow, infrastructure, well-paying jobs, replacement of existing municipal facilities, a hospital that’s inadequate, recreation, tourism, development and many more complex issues. Watch my video at calcrawford.ca.

MARK

DAVIES

1. I believe the biggest issue facing Mission today is the rapid increase in development and population as people search for affordable housing. New developments bring increased heavy traffic while under construction, and many additional commuters once completed. Schools and local programs feel the effects of this rapid population increase – and some schools are already over capacity. Combined with a lack of quality full-time local jobs, this means congestion along major routes as people commute out of Mission. Mission needs to have a cohesive and articulate plan to handle this growing inevitability over the next five to 10 years.

2. Every day this town gains new residents, and that is not going to change. People are moving from the Greater Vancouver area, and we are the most affordable and attractive location. As 70 per cent of residents do not work here, we lose revenue to other restaurants, stores and services in surrounding cities. Local employment would significantly reduce infrastructure strain on commuting routes. Additional local employment would benefit those who are struggling the most – our homeless – by providing Mission the necessary tax base for support services to help transition people to housing. A goal to transition Mission from a bedroom community to a community that has strong local economy with a thriving job market will benefit everyone.

My vision is clear and it starts with the basics – jobs and commercial industry employers. Mission is growing, and we need to grow with purpose. This will allow us to target crime, invest in our seniors and youth facilities and services, and develop a progressive yet sustainable vision for Mission. We need to speak that vision consistently to the investment community, as without a crystal-clear community vision, we can’t attract businesses to generate jobs, create quality local employment, and improve resident quality of life.

JAG

GILL

1. Mission is growing, and with this growth comes concerns. Mission is facing many issues such as; not enough facilities for seniors and youth, public safety, local jobs and disposal pickup, along with the government expanding the local hospital. A recent survey had stated that the number one issue in Mission currently is affordable housing.

2. My vision for Mission would be controlled development so the quality of living is not sacrificed. With the growth, there should be enough facilities for the elderly folks, youth, schools and enough green spaces. With controlled development, we can make sure that we keep up with consumer demand but be able to support our residents as well. I would like to focus on low-income housing options for families and seniors.

I understand growing local economy would prove to be beneficial. I would like to encourage more local businesses, which in turn will provide local jobs. Lastly, looking into growing our industrial area and what benefits and disadvantages that would present with this growth.

However, I want to work with the community of Mission. My main goal is going to be to collaborate with our residents to see what they want in the town they live in. If elected, I want to be a voice for the residents of Mission and want to be easily contacted when residents want to voice any concerns or ask questions.

Lastly, I would like the residents to call me to ask any questions at 604-832-9488. I believe that you truly know a nominee when you have personal interaction with them.

ANNE

GRAHAM

1. I believe development is the most important issue, Mission is growing rapidly and development must be in alignment with the OCP.

Mission must attract more industry and businesses to maintain their residents and alleviate some need for commuting. I believe the land between the racetrack and the Mission gauge is sacred and must be preserved as much as possible and kept accessible to the public. Any developments on the waterfront should be with the ideas of this area being a destination.

2. My vision of Mission is to have an urban core, building upwards as opposed to continued sprawl. Neighbourhoods should be well planned with necessary amenities like parks, business and schools. All developers should comply with zoning as set out in the OCP and designate and develop more parks and green space. Something must be done with traffic congestion, and the burgeoning problem of homeless. I would put priority on these issues as well.

CAROL

HAMILTON

1. I believe the most important issue is how we manage the development that is coming our way and the challenges that will be faced that come with the growth. We have started the process of comprehensive neighborhood planning, including public consultation, an asset management assessment among other vital planning exercises so future development is well thought out.

Traffic and transit pressures will increase as Mission develops. We have an active traffic and transit committee that meets regularly with stakeholders including a representative from BC Transit to discuss options for increasing transit service in our community.

Affordable housing for seniors is a topic of conversation as our population increases. Mission is moving forward with a project that will see 70-plus affordable housing units for seniors along with an activity centre. We have partnered with MASH and are waiting to hear from BC Housing that we have been successful in our submission for funding of the project.

Lastly, I will speak to the challenges of homelessness and addiction that we face in Mission now and with the expected growth in our community. What I can tell you is Mission has been recognized both regionally and provincially for programs that have been developed by our staff to help some our most vulnerable people. Stone Soup is just one program that has seen success.

2. My vision for Mission continues to be a well-planned community that provides a healthy lifestyle for our residents where they can work, play and enjoy the outdoors.

KEN

HERAR

1. The biggest issue I believe is development. With the current rate of development many issues have been raised: Are we growing too fast? Are we building community and walkable neighbourhoods? Is traffic a concern? With the increase in population is it taking a toll on our current infrastructure? These are some of the questions that are being asked and the concerns I have. With more public consultation, we will create more livable and complete communities for future generations.

Development is essential as long as we follow the Official Community Plan (OCP). Attracting more industry and creating more jobs will not only easy the tax base for residents, but will allow local people to spend more time in our community and with their families. Mission has always been a welcoming community. Let’s continue this tradition.

2. My vision for the future is to see Mission grow in a more balanced way where we can live, work and play and become a complete community where families don’t have to go to other communities for activities. I would also like to see Mission become more of a university town where people come here to learn about their future careers. With the possibilities of the waterfront development, improved transit, affordable housing and finding solutions to help the displaced – which is becoming a public safety concern for our city – we will become more of an attraction and destination for visitors.

JIM

HINDS

1. There are a variety of important issues in Mission, but in my mind the complete lack of industrial land is a huge issue on many levels.

On the waterfront we need to find replacement industrial land where businesses on the waterfront can be moved so that the land in question can be used for residential property.

2. My vision for Mission sees a sustained growth for the next few years. There will be increased costs that will be coming as the community grows.

A new seniors’ centre will need to be built with subsidized housing on top. Some of the money is already in place. This will allow the present centre to be used as a badly needed youth centre.

Other infrastructure that will need to be looked into are both a new police headquarters and a new civic centre. Most likely these could be combined.

Stave West will become the go-to place for outdoor activities in the Lower Mainland with up to double the number of camp sites put in place.

All levels of housing will need to be approved with higher density in the downtown. This has some challenges as you cannot force people to sell their property and you need to retain the rental properties we have in the downtown area. This could be accomplished by giving incentives to builders to retain rentals.

JENNIFER

HOLMES

1. The biggest issue in Mission today is development and housing. We need to make sure that there is enough housing for those people coming to Mission but at the same time have growth that is managed. The official community plan has said that the downtown and surrounding areas should be densified. I totally agree with that plan for Mission.

2. The future of Mission must include balanced growth. We do not want to turn into another sprawl community with acres of townhouses replacing the forests and farmland that has been part of Mission’s past. The citizens of Mission deserve to be heard on how they want their city to look in 25 to 50 years.

CARLA

JANIS

1. I think the most important issue for Mission is growth and how we manage growth. I think that in order to maintain our small-town feel and sense of community, our focus should be on increasing our knowledge-based business exposure and the zoning that accompanies this growth.

With knowledge-based businesses – such as IT – there is a low carbon footprint (including small commute times) and high-paying jobs.

2. As per above, I would love to see Mission become a tech hub. With this vision, we will see an injection of business taxes and therefore lessen the tax burden on our residents. Also our young people will be able to see a future that includes both working and living in Mission.

JEFF

JEWELL

1. With Silverdale development looming on Mission’s horizon, our biggest challenge is to get better control over growth and development. It’s not a choice between “pro-development” or “anti-development.” We need to find the right balance, and attract the right mix – in the right places – of residential, commercial and industrial development.

Mission’s future is largely dictated by geography and property values, driven by the unstoppable growth of Metro Vancouver. Like it or not, we must manage Mission’s transition into a very different future. This will require careful planning, and a council that stands up for citizens – and stands up to developers – by demanding compliance with our Official Community Plan (OCP).

Sadly, Mission has become a mess of uncoordinated urban sprawl and strip malls, which were allowed to deviate from our OCP. Developers always want to maximize profits, often to the detriment of a community. Mayors and councils are always under pressure to have development during their term of office.

2. My vision for Mission’s future starts with a vibrant downtown, without trucks, with affordable high-density residential development, with an upgraded West Coast Express and local transit services, and more people shopping in more profitable downtown businesses! It extends to infill development around existing strip malls, with more profitable shops and customers.

It also includes new and improved parks, trails, recreational and school facilities, in keeping with population increases, with development bringing improved quality of life to each neighbourhood.

Silverdale development, done right, at the right time, should uplift Mission into its next generation.

DOUG

LIFFORD

1. The biggest and most important issue currently facing Mission is housing and development.

Sixty-three per cent of our workforce leave Mission each day for work elsewhere. Mission also has the designation of being in the top five communities in Canada with the lowest rental vacancy rates, according to CMHC’s most recent report, and accordingly has some of the highest rents – if you can find a suitable rental. This has resulted in a disadvantage to those in need – seniors looking to downsize and stay in Mission, and youth looking to start their lives in the community they love.

We have historically been a bedroom community to the GVRD, and characterized by relatively affordable, low-density, single-family homes. This has now resulted in few quality high-paying jobs, an exodus each morning from our community for work, along with no purpose-built rental stock, low-income housing, or affordable housing.

Mission’s population will continue to grow over the next decade and we must realize that business as usual is no longer an option.

2. My vision for Mission’s future is encouraging, partnering with, and incentivizing development in established and desired corridors in order to promote lower cost growth, and provide for much needed low-income, affordable, and family-oriented housing. Densification in the downtown core will encourage our waterfront development, support business growth, and provide for our community’s diversified housing needs.

Viewing development, all across the housing continuum, as a partnership with developers, community groups, provincial, and federal governments, will bring new solutions, to new problems.

MIKE

NENN

1. The most important issue is a diversified tax base. We need investment in our community. We need to increase our industrial and commercial base to reduce the tax burden on residents and existing businesses.

As an example, rezoning the land between Nelson and Silverdale along the Lougheed would give Mission the opportunity to attract investment that would bring good paying jobs into Mission. Through transparent consultation with the community and stakeholder engagement, the mayor and council could encompass a progressive master plan within the OCP.

This would include a downtown/waterfront/bypass which would allow for parks, commercial and residential around the waterfront with greater density in the downtown core.

2. Eventually I see Welton Common inclusive of the parking lot turned into a new city hall/RCMP building with underground parking and park/green space to complement the downtown core. The truck and commuter bypass would allow First and Railway to be under city control, allowing for greater civic activities to celebrate the local businesses, artists and diversity of Mission.

Revenues through the increased tax base and funding from the province and federal governments would facilitate the RCMP relocation and bypass. This would allow for a managed increase in population density to ensure the character of Mission remains open and vibrant yet ensuring we move away from being a “bedroom community.”

A diversified tax base, good local jobs and increased population would pay for increased services for public transportation, protection services, community services and affordable housing.

Please consider a vote for Nenn, for Our Mission Our Future.

ALAN

PEDERSEN

1. The biggest issue Mission has right now as far as talking to people in the community is garbage and recyclables. These are fellow citizens who lived here years before me and ones who moved here and were given a certain level of service. Once you add more taxes and diminish service there is going to be discontent.

Whoever signs a contract where if service is missed the contractor will pick up on his next visit (two-week period), leaving an interval of four weeks between pickup , is ludicrous. Now with a two-week pickup, rodents are a mainstay to deal with compared to the previous format and, once entrenched, they are a serious threat. I would like to help make Mission a pioneer on recyclable issues instead of the present format, which doesn’t meet the needs of a growing community.

2. The Mission I would like to see in the future is one that can sustain growth hand in hand with its infrastructure – being roadways, sewer and schools. We need to do a balance that addresses need for the district and not just for developers’ profit. I couldn’t look long-standing homeowners in the eye and vote a development that makes their living hindered just to say we need more tax dollars. We have to justify any tax gained versus negative impact on the people of Mission.

Tourism to help our business community is the utmost in my mind as we have so much untapped potential waiting to be explored. We also need to keep our parks and playgrounds in top-notch shape to help our youth and old alike to have healthy outdoor/indoor options with activities.

DANNY

PLECAS

1. I believe the most important issue we face as a community is our response to managing growth and addressing the affordable-housing crisis. With limited land available elsewhere in the Lower Mainland, Mission has been seen as a desirable option for the development community.

The district needs to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is in place and all associated costs are addressed prior to implementing development applications.

As a councillor, l understand the importance of what development brings to our community. It’s not just new tax dollars; it also creates a confidence, in adding new retail and commercial opportunities. Each application that is considered by council has to satisfy a number of objectives. Most importantly, the application has to reflect the goals within the Official Community Plan.

Secondly, financial implications both today and in the future have to be weighed. Finally, how well does the project benefit the residents of Mission?

Council has created zoning opportunities to help bring a mixture of housing options to our community. We are seeing a great deal more secondary suites, coach houses, row houses and duplexes in the last couple of years. Of most concern is the lack of rental apartments and non-market housing.

With many individuals struggling to find rental that is limited to 30 per cent of their income, we have a real challenge ahead of us. Council received a report from the Sustainable Housing Committee in July this year, and l hope in the new year we can move forward on the 10 recommendations presented.

2. “Mission is a safe and inviting place to live.”

ASHLEY

SHARPE

1. I think the biggest issue in Mission is the excessive amount of development that threatens the environment and quality of life that we value here in Mission.

Sure, growth is good, and development will happen, but I believe balance is needed to ensure Mission isn’t turned into just another city we want to escape. How do we balance the development needed to provide the housing needed by everyone from the currently homeless to our lower income residents and to the more affluent, while still preserving and improving our environment and quality of life?

I think it’s important to honour the principles laid out in our existing Official Community Plan, and council must ensure that the developments that are allowed to go forward fit the OCP. We must also work to get provincial funding to include the housing needed for low income and homeless, while ensuring that our plans leave room for open space and parks.

I believe high-density development should be concentrated only where services – such as public transit and shopping – are already in place. The municipality must not sprawl high-density housing in pockets over the whole district. At the same time as development takes place, equal development of parks and nearby public spaces – including natural spaces – must also be included.

2. Mission still has much of its natural beauty, which sets us apart from the other cities. We must view it as an asset to enhance and utilize as an integral part of the overall community. We must preserve it to maintain the quality of life that we value here. We must not turn Mission into another urban jungle.

NEIL

SMITH

1. The most important issue is that our current council is not adhering to the Official Community Plan. The OCP addresses all the big issues facing Mission, including development and growth. Our current council has been too willing to amend the OCP at the behest of developers. The OCP is a reflection of the wishes of the citizens, as it was written after a long period of community consultation. It should be the manifesto of every candidate.

While the OCP is not written in stone, it should not change because developers are unwilling to work within its guidelines, but because citizens want it to improve.

As a councillor, I will set my opinions aside if they are in conflict with the OCP and stand with the community.

2. My vision for Mission is a resilient community that rejects the current wave of populist politics that favours opinions over facts. We will successfully adapt to the consequences of climate change by embracing the many local opportunities for Mission to thrive.

The downtown core will be a hive of activity, where more people want to live, work, and socialize. Mission will maintain its small-town feel – the reason many people moved here – but shed its reputation as a bedroom community. This can be achieved if we are guided by our OCP, which outlines: “more environmentally friendly and high-tech industries,” “supporting local agriculture,” and “organic food production” and much more. My vision is your vision as expressed through our OCP.

DAVE

WESTLEY

1. Ensuring reasonable and logical development is the biggest and most important issue facing Mission in the 2018 elections. We are at a crossroads and decisions by the next mayor and council will have ramifications well into the future of our community.

If mass development of southwest Mission is allowed to proceed, we will lose the opportunity to begin the revitalization of the downtown, development of the riverfront and construction of a bypass. I will ask the mayor and council to take direction from the Official Community Plan (OCP).

Prior to approving any rezoning applications two questions must be asked:

1)Does the rezoning improve the OCP and make our city more livable?

2) Are the community benefits provided by the developer compelling enough to approve a rezoning?

The answer must be yes to both questions in order to proceed.

2. I envision a vibrant downtown, development of the riverfront with lots of green space and river walks and a bypass that removes truck traffic from the downtown. I envision a diverse, welcoming community with a strong emphasis on the arts, a community that makes all who live and visit here feel comfortable and safe.

A livable community.

* Candidate Tracey Lee Norman has not responded to our request for answers.

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