Council has taken the first step to reclassify Mission from a district to a city.
During last week’s meeting, council approved a request for $8,500 in order to gauge the public’s opinion on the change.
In his report to council, Michael Boronowski, manager of civic engagement and corporate initiatives suggested they “go to the public to see whether they do support reclassifying as a city.”
Rather than hold a costly referendum, the report recommends using the alternative approval process.
As Boronowski explained, the process can run for between 32 and 80 days. 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.
“If under 10 per cent oppose, we can petition government to reclassify,” he said.
If the district reclassifies, it is estimated by staff that an additional, one-time preliminary cost of $190,000 –that could be split over the 2020 and 2021 fiscal years – would be needed for the successful implementation of reclassification including rebranding efforts.
If a reclassification request is submitted and approved by the provincial government, the District of Mission would legally be known as the City of Mission.
Coun. Carol Hamilton asked if the name could be changed to Mission City, to reflect the area’s history.
Boronowski explained that the government “will not entertain” the Mission City name. However, even though the legal classification would be City of Mission, Boronowski said they could still “brand ourselves as Mission City” just not on legal documents.
“I kind of like the tagline Mission City it has energy and it reflects, certainly, the historical aspect, but we are going to have to wait and see how the public feels,” said Mayor Pam Alexis.
What’s in a name?
Mission was first incorporated in 1892, then in 1922 the District of Mission was partitioned by the creation of the Village of Mission, which later became the Village of Mission City (1950).
In 1958 the Village became the first in BC to change to Town status, becoming the Town of Mission City. Finally, following a referendum in 1969 the Corporation of the District of Mission and the Town of Mission City were amalgamated as the District of Mission.
According to the staff report, city classification is seen as an asset in that it indicates a more progressive municipality and can aid in attracting businesses and developing partnerships with groups and individuals who aren’t familiar with B.C.’s municipal classifications and regional districts.
Reclassification also provides the immediate benefits of reducing confusion between the Fraser Valley Regional District, Mission Public School District, and the District of Mission.
Should that alternative approval process be successful, staff project additional one-time preliminary cost estimates of $190,000 that could be split over the 2020 and 2021 fiscal years for the successful implementation of reclassification including rebranding efforts.
It also allows for existing printed materials to be consumed and stocks replenished with the new brand rather than being immediately replaced.