Santa Claus watches as Chamber of Commerce member Ann Senae leads the crowd in singing Jingle Bells at the chamber's annual Christmas luncheon last Thursday at the Best Western.

Santa Claus watches as Chamber of Commerce member Ann Senae leads the crowd in singing Jingle Bells at the chamber's annual Christmas luncheon last Thursday at the Best Western.

New mayor shares ideas to improve community

Hawes addresses Chamber members at annual Christmas luncheon

Mission new council will meet early in 2015 to develop a “solid vision” for the community in the next four year, said Mayor Randy Hawes at the annual Chamber of Commerce Christmas luncheon Thursday afternoon.

Since being elected to office last month, Hawes believes some actions council has taken has improved the community, such as rebuilding relationships with district employees.

This year’s staff Christmas party was sold out in two days, noted Hawes.

The mayor also talked about downtown and improving neighbourhoods in Mission.

“Downtown Mission was one of the hot issues in the election,” said Hawes, who noted there are some good ideas in the plan the previous council developed, such as an incentive program to encourage property owners to upgrade and improve their building.

“What’s not happening is we’re not moving the highway off of First Avenue onto Railway,” he said.

Improving one street at the cost of another is not something Hawes is willing to consider.

“We know the post office is closing and we want to buy it. I think it will be a game changer downtown.”

Hawes also spoke about a desire to create an art presence downtown and to encourage the owners of the Bellevue Hotel to modernize and rebuild the structure.

The district will also be asking for ideas from the community on how to improve their neighbourhood for their families with the $7 million received from the federal gas tax transfer fund.

Some of council’s ideas include an artificial turf field and a new skateboard park, but those initiatives won’t proceed until the public is consulted.

Hawes also talked about a new Stone Soup project to address the homeless and addiction issues. A coalition is being put together to look at the problems and come up with solutions,  he said.

Council’s strategic planning session is scheduled to take place in February.

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