Mission mayoral candidate – Rhett Nicholson

Candidates answer three questions about issues impacting Mission

Mission mayoral candidate Rhett Nicholson.

Mission mayoral candidate Rhett Nicholson.

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?

There are two kinds of homelessness: the street population and families forced to stay with friends and family due to high housing prices and housing shortages.

Homelessness impacts many families including working people. Mission needs to allow for diverse home construction to satisfy everyone’s housing needs.

As rental stocks diminish, Mission residents are forced to settle for any housing they can afford. They live in housing situations not suited for their circumstances. Ultimately, the most vulnerable people are pushed into the streets. The continued influx of new residents moving here from the Lower Mainland adds to our housing need. As your mayor, I will coordinate public input sessions to fix issues related to more affordable condo/apartment shortages to build them with minimal impact to Mission. I will meet with our non-profit organizations about increasing more diverse housing options. I will pursue opportunities through BC housing/CMHC initiatives bring these strategies to council chambers and find ways to get the subsidized housing Mission needs.

Without meeting the housing needs, the crisis will worsen. I will do the leg work and give council the opportunity to address Mission’s needs.

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?

The first thing Mission needs to do is to come together. We need to be united and send a strong message that all parties are working together.

Mission will be dealing with mega investors spending 100s of millions of dollars. As your mayor, I will lead and bring all parties together, start fresh because we need to move forward.

It’s critical that city council gets our development department prepared. We need to show investors that we mean business. Mission has one of the slowest building permit issue rates. These investors are aware of our development reputation so, we need to show them we can do better.

Mission deserves the best opportunities for the waterfront: great jobs, desirable recreation and entertainment. There is a lot of work to do and if we want to get it done, your mayor and council need to take charge. We need strong communication with the current landowners and Mission businesses because we need them on our side. This is a massive project worth millions of dollars to the city. So, we need to work together to show investors that Mission is ready to do business.

3. What do you want the people of Mission to know about you, and your policies, before they cast their ballots?

Yes, I am younger, but times have changed, I relate to what Mission families are facing: incredible housing costs and the new challenges of technology and parenting.

I have been a strong leader in the community for decades. I spent seven years mentoring youth in an organized youth club that I created. I’ve been president of The Mission Optimist Club multiple times. I spent four years as a Downtown Business Association board member and received a DBA award. I also received awards from the Mission Chamber of Commerce, DoM, and two Muse Awards, for my community contributions.

I served four years on Mission City Council. I have worked in Mission since I was 15 at Sue’s Copy Place. Sue’s brought me closer to Mission residents, and their interests and concerns. Working at Sue’s, I witnessed people pour their hearts and souls into businesses, I’ve seen residents raise money for people and groups in need. I have been a shoulder to cry on while making memorial cards for loved ones lost and have listened to stories on how lovers met while I made invites for their big day. I have been here for Mission taking part in what makes Mission, Mission.

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