Mission sticks with district designation for now

Ideas from last year's branding seminar expected to be presented soon

District of Mission will not be changing its status any time soon.

Council voted unanimously to defer recommendation from district staff to pursue a change to reclassify Mission as a city last week.

According to the report to council, the change would reduce confusion between the Fraser Valley Regional District and the District of Mission, and enhance Mission’s reputation. The change would not affect taxation, and staff estimate it would cost about $36,700 to replace all municipal signs and vehicle decals with the new name.

The province offered to consider changing District of Mission to City of Mission last fall after Maple Ridge was reclassified as a city.

However, local councillors were hesitant to alter Mission’s name.

“We’re in the middle of a branding exercise,” said Coun. Pam Alexis, who asked for a deferral. “I’m not in favour of doing anything in a rush.”

Last September, Mission’s chamber of commerce, in partnership with the district, Mission Community Services Society, and Community Futures North Fraser, led the community through an a branding exercise to define Mission.

Ideas from the event are being analyzed and will be presented to the chamber soon, said Michael Boronowski, Mission’s manager of civic engagement and corporate initiatives. The same presentation is expected to be made to council later this month, but Boronowski estimates it could be another six to nine months before the branding initiative in complete.

Mayor Randy Hawes, who called in for the meeting while on vacation in Hawaii, said he was concerned the change to city status would cost the city more than it was worth.

Counc. Danny Plecas and Jenny Stevens also shared similar thoughts.

“We need to have a purpose for doing this,” said Plecas, who noted Mission’s name has been changed many times before. “It was Mission City way back when. I’m kind of at a loss of what we’re trying to achieve.”

Coun. Carol Hamilton was the lone voice in supporting the recommendation. She noted developers may feel more welcome coming to a city, rather than a district, and said it was “time for us to look at being a city.”