Mission’s new mayor and councillors took the oaths of office Monday afternoon at the Clarke Theatre.
John Tait, commissioner of oaths, presided over the ceremony, which was attended by close to 400 people, including students, past council members, and other dignitaries.
Each member of council, beginning with Mayor Randy Hawes, read the oath and pledged their allegiance to the Queen before signing the papers. Couns. Pam Alexis, Carol Hamilton, Jim Hinds, Rhett Nicholson, Danny Plecas, and Jenny Stevens followed.
Tait explained elected officials must take the oaths of office within 45 days after an election, according to provincial laws.
In his inaugural address, Hawes said the new council is made up of long-time community volunteers who want to make Mission a more friendly and vibrant place to raise a family.
But before any projects are started, the new council will address the morale problem at municipal hall.
“All of us are well served by these hard working and dedicated employees and we will work diligently with them to gain mutual respect,” said Hawes. “We know that a workplace built on respect and trust brings productivity and the desire to excel.”
Projects the new council are committed to addressing are looking after the families on Best Avenue whose homes are sinking, improving public safety by adding more police officers, and restoring fire inspection and education services.
Plans to improve downtown include supporting the Stone Soup initiative which engages community resources to help the homeless and addicted population out of their situation.
“This very effective project can have a profound impact on some of our most vulnerable people,” said Hawes.
The new council will also be working on gaining ownership of the post office building on First Avenue when Canada Post moves out.
“Over the coming months, we will be seeking public input into its use to ensure the greatest positive impact on our downtown core,” said Hawes. “In addition, we shall be encouraging the owner of the Bellevue Hotel building to renovate and renew this building.”
There are also plans to work with seniors to build a seniors centre and establish a committee for youth to improve parts of the community that are important to them.
A new skateboard park and an artificial turf all-weather field are other potential initiatives.
Other priorities in Mission for the next four years include growing the industrial base, tourism, and developing the waterfront.
“A new and crucial partnership with school district 75 will be a vital part of community building in the future,” stated Hawes. “We will be seeking the development of neighbourhood community centres utilizing our school buildings as activity centres for local programming.”