After seven weeks of collecting responses, the District of Mission can now apply to become the City of Mission.
The preliminary count of responses received through the Alternative Approval Process shows 422 qualified electors, or 1.47 per cent of eligible electors, opposed seeking to reclassify Mission as a city.
Certified results will be presented to council at the Oct. 21 regular council meeting.
The alternative approval process ran for seven weeks, from Aug. 30, 2019 through Oct. 11, 2019, at a total cost of $5,686.
“It is encouraging that the vast majority of people recognize and support council’s vision for moving Mission forward. This initiative has been a great check-in with the community and establishes an important step in that process,” said Mission Mayor Pam Alexis.
The next step for the municipality is to formally request the reclassification by letter to the Provincial Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
Michael Boronowski, manager of civic engagement and corporate initiatives explained that once the formal request for reclassification is submitted all the District can do is wait for the Ministry to bring the issue forward.
“It actually has to go to Victoria and that timeline could take a few months,” he said, adding he sees no reason why the request would not be granted.
“We far exceed the 5,000 citizen population threshold and the results really indicate that the vast majority of people are not opposed to reclassifying as a city,” said Boronowski.
If reclassification is permitted, the District will need to implement a reclassification and rebranding plan.
No budget has been approved at this time, but a staff report, earlier this year, originally estimated a one-time cost of $190,000 to roll out the new classification, create an improved website and create a branding process. That figure has now been reduced to $167,000.
According to the staff report, city classification is seen as an asset in that it indicates a more progressive municipality and can aid in attracting businesses and developing partnerships with groups and individuals who aren’t familiar with B.C.’s municipal classifications and regional districts.
Reclassification also provides the immediate benefits of reducing confusion between the Fraser Valley Regional District, Mission Public School District, and the District of Mission.