Mission Mayor Pam Alexis believes there is a lot of misinformation on social media regarding the proposed switch from District to City. / File Photo

City or District: Separating fact from fiction on Mission’s proposed classification change

Mayor Pam Alexis talks about why council wants to make a change and dispels myths on Facebook

Mission has begun the process to allow residents to decide whether to reclassify from the District of Mission to the City of Mission.

The decision to explore the reclassification and the “alternative approval” process to gauge the public’s opinion have been open for much debate on social media platforms.

However, there is some concern at city hall that the information being discussed, and points being made, may not be entirely accurate.

READ MORE: PROCESS TO BEGIN

Mission Mayor Pam Alexis sat down with the Mission Record on Wednesday to discuss the issue.

“There sounds like there is much misinformation out there about what a status change will mean to our community… Rest assured, council would never embark along this path unless there was potential to improve the lives of our citizens,” Alexis said.

Why are we doing this?

Alexis believes a change in classification won’t impact people’s day-to-day lives.

“We are working on the greater good here. We are working on leveling the playing field with the reliance on the resident as far as our tax base goes.”

Mission needs to attract more businesses to invest and expand into the community and Alexis said being a district is a disadvantage.

“I believe district implies rural, smallness and not necessarily ready… Because we are different, we have to work harder to get into the race.”

MORE: WHY SHOULD WE CHANGE

She said that when a business begins to look for a location in the Fraser Valley and can choose the City of Chilliwack, the City of Abbotsford or the District of Mission, this community is immediately one step behind.

“This (the classification change) will help us to get our foot in the door so that we, too, can be just as competitive as our neighbours.

“We are a city by all stretches of the imagination, but we are not regarded as that from the outside.”

Alexis said the change doesn’t really impact local residents.

“This is for the outside world and for the greater good of our community and it’s much more long term. Short-term benefits, I don’t know that we are going to see anything, but I’m hopeful, over the long term, that status change will mean we receive the same opportunities as our neighbours, bring in more businesses and relieve the burden on the residential tax base.”

What will it cost?

According to some Facebook posts, voters believe the eventual cost to change from a district to a city could surpass the $1 million mark, which Alexis said is completely unfounded.

“The cost has now morphed (on Facebook) into some astronomical figure. It’s $8,500 to do this alternate electoral process.”

After the decision has been made, a staff report originally predicted a cost of up to $190,000 to roll out the new classification, create an improved website and create a branding process.

That proposed figure – which council has not approved yet – has been reduced to $167,000.

Alexis said that, even if voters say no to the change, council will still consider moving forward with visioning and branding exercises and improvements to the website.

“It’s part of our strategic objectives.”

Other Facebook comments that Alexis want to address include:

Will council get big raises?

“Absolutely not. It doesn’t change anything with the day-to-day operation of this municipality.”

But taxes will go up?

“No, they are not. Taxes will not be increased as a result of a status change.”

Why are we changing our name?

“It’s not a name change, it’s a classification change. Mission will still be Mission.

“It’s a legal entity. We can’t be Mission City; we must be, if we succeed, the City of Mission.”

But the mayor said that will be for legal purposes only.

Why do only negative votes get cast?

Alexis said the alternative-approval process is simple. Notice of the reclassification is circulated to resident electors and non-resident property owners. If the district receives objections or opposing responses from more than 10 per cent of electors, then the idea does not move forward.

“We were looking for the least costly process to embark on. The City of Delta undertook the same process … We worked with the Ministry of Municipal

MORE: VOYERS WILL HAVE THEIR SAY

Affairs and Housing to find the best process.”

She also noted that a full referendum would costs tens of thousand more to hold.

Did we miss funding opportunities?

There are some funds that are only available to cities.

“Apparently, there was something that the archives had applied for that we were disqualified for because we weren’t a city.

“A city is defined as a place with more than 5,000 people, so really, we should have done this a long time ago.”

Just the facts

“Some people go to Facebook for answers. I don’t know that necessarily you can get answers out of a group of individuals who perhaps aren’t as connected. I’ve alway encouraged people if you have a question, send me an email, call me. I answer questions all the time. I’ll happily give you the facts.”

Alexis can be reached at 604-820-3702 or palexis@mission.ca.

The alternative-approval process has begun. Forms will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 11.

Elector response forms will be available on the district’s website (mission.ca) and by request at municipal hall, Welton Common and the Mission Leisure Centre.

The area for the alternative-approval process will be the entire District of Mission.

The estimated total number of electors in that area is 28,735. That means 2,873 people need to officially oppose the change to defeat it.



kevin.mills@missioncityrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Body found after SUV found fully engulfed in flames in Abbotsford field

Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has been called in

Advocate for the homeless receives UFV’s Young Distinguished Alumni Award

Jesse Wegenast of Chilliwack recognized for extensive community work in Abbotsford

PHOTOS: West Coast Christmas Show and Artisan Market at Tradex

Over the past 11 years the show has been attended by over 175,000 visitors

Man stabbed in Abbotsford during altercation in restaurant parking lot

Victim taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries Friday afternoon

Pilot Sonya Sangster receives UFV Distinguished Alumni Award

Former grad flies planes and works in international development

Abortions rights advocates urge Liberals to turn politics into policy

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was pressed to clarify his stance abortion over several weeks

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants blank Cougars 4-0

Goaltender David Tendeck turned aside all 38 Prince George shots for his WHL-leading third shutout

Closing arguments begin in B.C. case launched in 2009 over private health care

Dr. Day said he illegally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in 1996 in order to create more operating-room time

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Dallas Smith, Terri Clark to perform on CP Holiday Train’s B.C. stops

Annual festive food bank fundraiser rolling across province from Dec. 11 to 17

Poole’s Land finale: Tofino’s legendary ‘hippie commune’ being dismantled

Series of land-use fines inspire owner Michael Poole to sell the roughly 20-acre property.

Paul Bissonnette joins Vancouver Warriors after tweeting he could walk on to an NLL club

Bissonnette will join the Warriors for their final week of training camp at Rogers Arena

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Most Read