The district of Mission has set an operating budget for Fraser River Heritage Park of $207

Fraser River Heritage Park budget set

Mission Mayor Randy Hawes said the budget means it will not cost taxpayers any extra money to operate the park.

The district of Mission has set an operating budget for Fraser River Heritage Park of $207,000 – the same amount it paid last year.

Mission Mayor Randy Hawes said the budget means it will not cost taxpayers any extra money to operate the park when the district takes over in 2016, than it does now under the Mission Heritage Association (MHA).

The decision made earlier this year to not renew the maintenance contract with the MHA has been a controversial one, with many believing the cost to run the park will rise dramatically without the help of the MHA volunteers. Concerns have also been raised that programing and other park services will suffer.

But Hawes does not agree.

“We believe there can be more programming and we are going to push to get more programming,” he said.

Hawes used the Mission Folk Music Festival as an example, saying he wants to talk to organizers about other festival opportunities, including a blues festival.

“We would like that. We think the park should be used.”

Programs that Hawes said will continue include the Wednesday and Friday night music concerts, Canada Day celebrations and all current park activities.

“And we will add more.”

He also said council is aware of many volunteers who are still willing to come and work in the gardens when the district takes over.

And parks staff can handle other maintenance needs.

“It’s not like we are going to have to hire a fresh new group of people to look after the park and pay them this union wage. They are already on our payroll. We can stretch this easily. This is not going to be a problem,”  said Hawes.