Input sought on district amenities

Mission has lagged in providing facilities for its growing population, but not everyone agrees how and when such projects should happen.Community amenities are assets which make a city a more enjoyable place to live, such as trails and parks, leisure centres, libraries and police stations. District staff presented two lists to the public at an information and input meeting last Thursday night at the Leisure Centre.The suggestions on list A are considered high priority by council, said Sharon Fletcher, Mission’s director of planning. The ones on list B are still important, but will only be considered when funds become available or when there is a need identified.Item on list A and the estimated costs are:• skateboard park, $71,500• new park amenities, $2,145,000• transit exchange, $1,200,000• public works building expansion, $8,000,000• new sports park, phase 1 – $4,600,000, phase 2 – $2,722,000 • arts centre, senior centre, youth centre, each $2,975,000• museum, $1,700,000• municipal hall, $17,675,000• multi-purpose space, $1,700,000• upgrade Rotary Sports Park, $2,800,000• new police building, $19,000,000Items on list B and the estimated costs are:• dike trails and related signage, $7,650,000• district-wide trail system, $900,600• pool addition, $15,000,000• new leisure complex, $30,000,000• new sports park (phase 3), $4,000,000• community announcement board, $120,000Developers are expected to pay for most of the costs through a community amenity contribution, volunteered when the property is rezoned. If the fee is not offered, the rezoning could be denied because the financial burden on current taxpayers would be too great.Developers provide most of the funding because development brings growth and strains current facilities, explained Fletcher, who noted the list can be changed and council will review the projects regularly.Currently a fee of $2,815 is collected for each new residential lot or housing unit, but that cost is expected to increase to $6,200 based on list A.Judith Ray told council it’s not fair for developers to bear most of the cost because current taxpayers will enjoy the facilities too. Taxpayers still have to pay and major projects should go to a referendum, she suggested.Shelley Clarkson suggested a permanent soapbox derby track should be on the list and a couple of seniors stated a seniors centre is needed soon.Genstar vice-president Blake Hudema questioned whether Mission would be making it too expensive for builders to do business in the community.He noted the industry is weak now and is trying to get re-established.If costs keep mounting, the value of the land will be reduced, he added.Details of the proposed 30-year Community Amenity Program are available at www.mission.ca. The district is accepting input until March 11.