Investment in local parks has been lacking for the past few years, according to Mission Mayor Randy Hawes.
But that is about to change.
Mission council is focusing its attention on the district’s more than 20 municipal parks, looking for ways to make them more user-friendly and attractive to both long-time residents and newcomers.
“We are recognizing that livability is a huge thing in this community. We know we have a lot of parks and areas of this community that have very little infrastructure. There’s not much there for families,” said Hawes.
“This is a priority issue that has to be addressed.”
Playgrounds, bathrooms and programming are needed in many of the parks, which previous councils were not inclined to spend money on, said Hawes.
“If you’re not investing, then you’re basically just picking up pieces of ground and developing what I call moose pasture.
“To the best of our ability we’re going to put some money behind this to bring that infrastructure to those parts of the community.”
Hawes said it’s too early to determine how much money will be needed to make improvements.
In order to establish what infrastructure is needed, council agreed on Tuesday to move forward with a proposal to create a parks and recreation advisory committee.
The committee will likely consist of eight or nine members of the community, once all of the details have been worked out.
“We’re at the very beginning point,” said Maureen Sinclair, the district’s director of parks, recreation and culture.
She expects to go to the community, seeking committee members, by the fall.
Hawes is hopeful that a broad cross-section of citizens will get involved.
“Let’s make life better for families, particularly for kids.”
According to Hawes, council recognizes that if a city wants to have proper economic development, it has to offer the facilities families want, in order to convince them to relocate to the community.
“If they don’t like it, they won’t come.”
While the new committee will be able to make recommendations, council will still have final say on any changes.