An accident on the Fraser River forced the closure of the Mission Railway Bridge in January of 2017.

An accident on the Fraser River forced the closure of the Mission Railway Bridge in January of 2017.

Mission Record: 2017 Year in Review – January to March

From sewer issues to huge amounts of snow, Mission was busy in the first three months of the year

As 2017 comes to an end, the Mission Record takes a month-by-month look at some of the stories that made headlines in the past 12 months.


An unwanted mountain of sewage: A one-kilometre section of pipe has the potential to cause “dire environmental consequences,” said Mission Mayor Randy Hawes. The pipe carries Mission’s sewage from the city, across the Fraser River and into the JAMES Treatment plant in Abbotsford. The pipe, which is constantly under pressure and buried in the sand under the Fraser River, is more than 30 years old and a second pipe is needed.

Attempted murder in Mission: Charges were filed against two men believed to be involved in a shooting and hostage incident in Mission. RCMP said 33-year-old Joseph Ross Raso and 37-year-old Thomas Zdravko Stenja were charged with attempted murder and forcible confinement. The incident began in Mission when RCMP were called to the Stave Falls area in the 30000 block of Dewdney Trunk Road after receiving reports of a shooting. As police began their investigation, it was soon discovered that a woman was being held against her will by the suspects.

Silverdale lands sold: Approximately 710 acres that was previously owned by the Genstar Development Company was sold to Polygon Homes in partnership with the Madison Development Corporation, which already owns 460 acres in the area. The Silverdale lands were slated for urban development in 2004, and while work and planning have been ongoing, the area has remained undeveloped for more than a decade.

Barge shuts down train bridge: An accident on the Fraser River forced the closure of the Mission Railway Bridge. Salem Woodrow, a spokesperson for Canadian Pacific Railway, which owns the bridge, said the closure was due to damages caused by a barge that struck the more than 100-year-old structure.


Population on the rise: Mission’s population grew faster than almost any other large municipality in the province. According to new estimates from BC stats, Mission’s population grew by 3.9 per cent last year, second only to the city of Langford, which experienced a growth of 6.7 per cent.

Snowbound: Almost 70 centimeters (about 27 inches) of snow fell on Mission over a period of four days, forcing schools to close, businesses to temporarily shut their doors and activity in the community to come to a chilly halt. Despite the heavy snow, it wasn’t a record-breaker. The record snowfall for one day is 37 cm on Feb. 22, 1982.

Body discovered in Hatzic: Mission RCMP recovered the body of missing woman Dana Barlow. A Mission RCMP officer was flagged down by district employees along the Lougheed Highway in the Hatzic area. The employees believed they had located the human remains of a female. RCMP investigated the scene and quickly confirmed the report.


Don’t engage criminals: Mission RCMP reminded the public to call police if they suspect criminal activity. The warning came following an incident where a man was pepper-sprayed in the face in front of his home on Boothby Avenue, after he saw a woman acting suspicious.

New firehall plan needed: Mission needs to construct a new firehall in the Cedar Valley area, Fire Chief Dale Unrau told Mission council. However, when and where that construction will take place is still undecided.Unrau said the latest firehall location analysis confirmed the recommendation that there is a demand for a firehall in the Cedar Valley area.

High cost of snow: The unusually heavy snowfall from December to February negatively impacted the district’s snow-clearing budget for both 2016 and 2017. In 2016, the district spent $477,000 to clear roadways, $29,000 more than the $448,000 budgeted for the year. Two-thirds of the entire 2016 snow-clearing budget was spent in December alone.

$8.3 million sewer line moves forward: Mission will be constructing a new $8.3 million underwater sewer line across the Fraser River, thanks to federal and provincial funding. The federal government announced it was providing up to 50 per cent of the funding – $4,155,335 – and the provincial government was providing $2,742,587. The District of Mission would pay 17 per cent ($1,412,950) towards the $8,310,872 project.

$15-million pledged for transitional housing: Mission is hoping to create a new 40-unit transitional housing and shelter space for men and women in need, thanks to funding from the provincial government, MLA Simon Gibson said.