With the year 2019 quickly drawing to a close, The Mission Record is taking a brief look back at some of the stories that made headlines in the past 12 months.
Federal politics were already on some people’s minds as 2019 promised a new federal election. In Mission, it was clear that a rematch would take place.
In 2015, the last seat to be decided in the entire country was the new riding of Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon, where Liberal Jati Sidhu narrowly defeated Brad Vis. Sidhu’s win in a traditionally Conservative part of British Columbia was an indicator of the strength shown by the Liberals in 2015 as they claimed decisive majority.
The Record examined what could lie ahead in the coming campaign.
The Mission Hospice Society avoided a crisis, thanks to the support of the community and a huge anonymous donation.
In mid-December, disaster struck the society’s office after a sewer backup and a series of leaking pipes destroyed the lower part of the building. The society executive director, Angel Elias, said insurance would cover some of the repairs, but an additional $15,000 was needed. Once word spread of the situation, donations began to flood in.
The new Mission council proposed a municipal tax hike of 4.62 per cent.
It was eventually reduced to 3. 83 per cent.
Along with the 4.62 per cent tax increase were increases to the drainage levy (9.75 per cent), water utility user fees (one per cent) and sewer utility user fees (five per cent).
Snowfall, icy roads and hazardous road conditions impacted everyone in Mission in February.
For three straight days, public schools were closed and many people chose to bunker down in their homes rather than head out to work.
However, those who were employed by the District of Mission’s public works department didn’t miss any work.
The department had crews on duty 24 hours a day, trying to stay ahead of the weather and keep roads as clear as possible.
Mission RCMP arrested a man suspected of being involved in the arson of the Canadian Tire store.
Staff Sgt. Steve Crawford said the man was released pending further investigation by the Mission RCMP plainclothes section, and in consultation with Crown counsel on whether charges would be laid.
The fire took place at about 6 p.m. on Jan. 30 at the store on London Avenue in Mission, and investigators believed it was intentionally set. No charges have yet been filed.
Vancouver artist Imu Chan was to create a new piece of public art for Mission’s downtown core.
Council supported a staff recommendation to approve the First Avenue public art proposal. The price of the proposed project was $50,300 and was within the existing operating budget for public art.
However, a huge outcry from the public ended up canceling the project. Facebook and other social media sites lambasted the art project, and council members eventually changed their stance on the idea and defeated the project.
Mission experienced a rise in the number of violent crimes and business break-and-enters. However, incidents of domestic violence decreased from the previous year.
Mission RCMP Insp. Annette Fellner presented the year-end crime statistics to Mission council. According to the report, there were 614 violent crime calls in 2018, up 23 per cent from the previous year.
Mission’s Christine Jamieson was crowned Miss Canada for 2019. The announcement was made in Montreal during the Miss Canada pageant.
There were 37 contestants from around the country participating in the event, but in the end, it was Jamieson’s name that was announced.
“Shock! Shock is a very good word to describe it,” said Jamieson as she explained how she felt when she heard her and called out.
The 2019 Mission Soapbox Derby was cancelled in March. Keith Hine, president of the Mission and District Soapbox Derby Association, said: “I don’t know what to say; the race is off for this year. I’m disappointed.”
Hine pointed to two factors that forced the cancellation: a lack of volunteers and the need for a permanent track to hold the races.
Mark Hamilton loves to cook. The Mission resident and City of Coquitlam firefighter was selected as one of the top 18 home cooks who battled it out during season six of MasterChef Canada
Despite his efforts, the 35-year-old father of three was eliminated early in the competition.
Three teenage girls were safe and sound after an incident at Cascade Falls.
Mission Search and Rescue (SAR) first received the report of a young woman stranded at the bottom of Cascades Falls at about 3 p.m. on April 3.
The three girls had climbed down to the bottom of the falls. However, only two of them were able to climb back up. The third could not make it back out, and her friends called for help.
SAR managed to rescue the girl and there were no injuries to report.