Mission focusses on downtown plan

Open house taking place tonight from 6 to 8 p.m. at Leisure Centre

Mission council is tackling major development projects one at a time.

Council is holding off a workshop aimed at establishing planning, design, amenities, and seeking public input until after the issue of rejuvenating the health of the downtown core is addressed.

The request to hold a high-level visioning workshop was brought forward by Patrick Cotter of Cotter Architects, the company leading the four-phase plan, to help get investment flowing along the banks of the Fraser. Funding for the workshop would use the remaining $10,000 left in the city’s original $30,000 budget for the four-phase study.

“I think we would all like to see how to activate the waterfront and I really think these recommendations really spell out a framework of how staff and council could proceed to do that,” said Cotter.

However, council decided to hold off.

“I have some concerns right now that we’re dealing with a lot on our plate, particularly with the downtown issue, “ said Councillor Larry Nundal. “I don’t want to see too much distraction with the downtown.”

Coun. Jenny Stevens said she’s reluctant to get too deeply involved in two major planning documents, fearing neither project will get the attention it needs.

“I’d rather have the time, frankly, to digest this report, fully, and relate it to what happens downtown,” said Stevens.

District staff have been instructed to study Cotter’s report, which includes other suggestions, such as conceptual plans for realigning the highway bypass through the waterfront, and bring recommendations to council.

For now, council says downtown is the first priority.

The district’s goal of revitalizing the downtown is, in parts, in the hands of HB Lanarc Consultants. The firm is putting together a downtown revitalization plan, and hopes to present a report by March 31.

Before that happens, the district is gathering as much information as possible, and is hosting an open house tonight (Jan. 17) from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Leisure Centre gym. Charette team members and consultants will be available to discuss the project and answer any questions.

This is the public’s opportunity to fill out questionnaires and provide comments, said Sharon Fletcher, director of long range planning and special projects.