The Mission Record asked every candidate three questions about local issues impacting the community.
The following are their answers. (The Mission Record asked the mayoral candidates to limit their answers to 200 words.)
1. The Fraser Valley Regional District’s 2020 Homeless Count and Survey shows that Mission’s homeless population has nearly tripled in three years. At the local level, what are the policy prescriptions needed to tackle the issue? Council has been fairly unified on their approach, what would you add to the conversation?
Frankly, we haven’t got a plan. The last time that our community created a social development plan was in 2006. Our only healthcare plan was created in 2009. If we are going to plan for large areas like Silverdale and the waterfront, we had better be prepared to deal with social and health care issues at the same time.
In summary, a new plan needs to be created that includes the voices of the people most affected, people living at-risk and those who work on the front lines. That’s why I would reconvene the Mission Healthy Community Council and ask them to propel this work.
An updated plan needs to do more than include affordable housing. It needs to plan for transitions (such as aging out youth and people graduating from recovery programs). It needs to create a more easily navigated system and one that can help people from early on.
After 38 years in Human Services, I know we need to work in a collaborative and strategic fashion, rather than dealing with people through our courts and hospitals. Our current system is ineffective, costly and, quite frankly, cruel. This will be a big priority for me.
2. Mission’s waterfront development has been a hotly debated topic for decades. Council has been moving forward recently with a masterplan, and designated 297 acres as a comprehensive planning area. In your opinion, what needs to happen to turn Mission’s waterfront from a plan into a reality?
Moving Mission’s Waterfront forward is a major goal for me. Good planning expedite development because a sound strategy is a key component in building both investor and taxpayer confidence.
Between 2008-11, my council laid a foundation of research/visioning for the area, but the work stopped in 2011. Now things are happening again, with the promise of a complete plan in 2022.
Everyone needs a voice in the planning process so that we create a product that works for Mission. I envision a mix of uses, with a focus on local jobs, including clean industry and commercial workplaces.
And the planning must include Mission Raceways. They own their land. They will determine its future.
If we do nothing, the complexities of the area will mean another 100 years of inaction. More than 60 owners, three branches of government and the Sto:lo people have stakes in those lands. Multiple obstacles, such as electrical and sewage lines; flooding; soil issues; transportation corridors and salmon habitat, make a careful approach essential.
There is keen development interest in our waterfront, but we only have one opportunity to do it right. If we strategize quickly and well, we will all get more from those lands.
3. What do you want the people of Mission to know about you, and your policies, before they cast their ballots?
I am all about a sustainable approach. Without a high regard for economic development, we cannot properly attend to the other aspects that make a complete community, including social programs, healthcare, amenities, and environmental protections.
I believe in setting hard targets and time lines and I am not afraid of bold goals. I have faith in our community. Individual neighbours, community groups, non-profits, other levels of government and the private sector can accomplish amazing things when they are brought together and empowered to address our needs. That’s the sort of work I love to do, and I am skilled at it.
I am not just running for 18 months. My aim is to let you get to know me for 18 months before I run again. The things I envision for our community will take time and collaboration.
I will show respect to every person in this community, even if they disagree with me. I will do this job with you in mind, not me. I will approach decisions with a principled approach and a high regard for evidence. I will admit when I don’t get it right, and I won’t be afraid to take your calls.
It’s about you.