Former Mission MLA Randy Hawes is supported by his wife

Election 2014: Hawes launches campaign to be mayor

District of Mission: Randy Hawes, candidate for mayor

Former Mission MLA Randy Hawes is coming out of retirement and running for mayor in this year’s municipal election.

Hawes made the announcement Tuesday evening at the Mission Springs restaurant to family, friends, and supporters, including former elected officials and those seeking office in November.

Hawes told the crowd of about 50 people that he intended to retire last year, but he felt “guilty” about what is happening at city hall.

“For three years I’ve seen bitterness, acrimony and bullying of staff, bullying of the public,” Hawes explained. “I felt guilty because I helped get (Citizens for Responsible Municipal Government members) elected. It was a mistake.”

Hawes was part of the original meeting that brought CRMG together, but now he is distancing himself from the group and criticizing not only the leaders of the organization, but also the work the current mayor and council have done in office.

The low property taxes over the past three years were accomplished at the expense of cutting valuable services, he charged. Mission’s protective services budget, which includes police and fire services, is hundreds of thousands of dollars less in 2013 than it was in 2011, said Hawes. One of Mission’s two fire inspectors was cut, leaving just one man to inspect all commercial and industrial buildings on top of investigating fires.

“He’s 700 inspections behind,” said Hawes, who noted the fire at the large drug lab earlier this month on Horne Street could have been prevented if the building had been inspected.

The district needs to concentrate on controlling costs, not cutting them, he noted.

He agreed new industrial and commercial construction bring revenue to the community, but pointed out there haven’t been any new developments in the past three years. The Smart Centre development, anchored by Walmart, was approved by the previous council as well as Heritage Marketplace on Stave Lake Street.

Hawes also stated the district’s current downtown revitalization plan is “unrealistic.” Instead of moving ahead with relocating the highway and building a plaza, the organizations need to get together to address the homeless and addiction problems. While the issues fall under Fraser Health and provincial jurisdiction, it is ultimately Mission’s problem.

“Our problem will continue to get worse unless we pull the community together to deal with it. We can do that by building files and talking to everyone, including the homeless to see what they need to get them out of the system.”

Hawes believes staff morale at municipal hall is low and fears there will be a strike from unionized workers if the situation doesn’t improve.

Hawes also encouraged voters to favour independent candidates who  serve the community in other ways because they care.

Hawes and his family moved to Mission in 1979. He spent 21 years in public office, including three terms as mayor and three terms as MLA.

Just Posted

Abbotsford a “leading municipality” in Canada for radon reduction efforts, says national health coalition

Abbotsford one of 15 cities to particpate in national health campaign to raise awareness

VIDEO: Would you visit Abbotsford in Australia?

Check out what Abbotsford looks like down under

Crash in Langley slows westbound traffic on Highway 1

Lanes have recently been cleared but cars are backed up past Bradner Road

PHOTOS: Remembrance Day in Mission

About 1,000 people came out to this year’s ceremony

VIDEO: Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

Cherry denies he was singling out visible minorities with his comments

Brian Burke considered favourite to replace Don Cherry

Brian Burke is the 5-4 pick to be the full-time replacement next season

Major donor Peter Allard takes UBC to court to get his name on all law degrees

Philanthropist claims school not adhering to 2014 agreement for his $30-million donation

Environment Canada issuses snowfall warning for Okanagan

Snow is expected to be replaced with rain in the afternoon

Report predicts drug resistance likely to kill 400,000 Canadians by 2050

This increase is expected to cost Canada 396,000 lives, $120 billion in hospital expenses

Sportsnet fires Don Cherry after negative comments about immigrants

Don Cherry had said immigrants don’t wear poppies like other Canadians do

Trudeau’s new cabinet: Gender parity because it’s 2019? Or due to competence?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will soon appoint his new cabinet

Coquihalla drivers urged to be careful amid freezing rain alert

Special weather statement in effect for highways between Hope, Merritt, Kamloops and Kelowna

Canada among three G20 countries least likely to hit emissions targets

It says Canada, South Korea and Australia are the farthest off

Most Read