He believes the issue is bigger than just the observatory.
Adlem, who now lives in Salmon Arm, says the real struggle is a dispute between current Mayor Randy Hawes and the Mission Heritage Association (MHA).
“For three decades, the Mission Heritage Association ran it (Fraser River Heritage Park) very successfully, in my humble opinion,” said Adlem.
The District of Mission took over the management of the park at the beginning of 2016, after deciding not to renew the MHA’s contract.
Adlem, who was president of the Mission-Maple Ridge Liberal riding association when Hawes was MLA, said the current mayor has a long-standing feud with the MHA.
He claims it started in 2005, when current councillor Jenny Stevens ran against Hawes in the provincial election.
“For the first time in his life he thought he was going to lose,” said Adlem.
Hawes eventually won by 199 votes.
“At that time, Jenny was very active with the Mission Heritage Association and I think most of their board was active trying to help her. So he (Hawes) took the attitude that they were too far left and he was going to do something about it,” claims Adlem.
Adlem later became the mayor of Mission, with MLA Hawes’ support.
“I knew he supported me to become the mayor because he figured that he would have the ability to influence what was going on at city hall. I made a promise to myself that I wasn’t going to allow that to happen,” said Adlem.
Hawes called Adlem’s remarks preposterous.
“I supposedly told Adlem I thought the board was too left wing and I was going to do something about it. Well, that’s just a ridiculous statement that has never been made,” said Hawes.
He said if you think about it logically, you realize the statement is not true.
“I’ve been in politics for over 20 years. I know what I can do and what I can’t do. Now I’m sitting as an MLA. What am I supposed to do about a park board that’s under the auspices of, well, themselves to start with, but the municipality has the contact with them, not the MLA. I had no plans then to run for mayor and Adlem would know that. So why would I even say that? It’s preposterous, it’s stupid,” said Hawes.
Whether Adlem’s claims are true or not, the former mayor said he’s unsure if the current council has the right to tear down the observatory.
Adlem points out that the park is actually owned by the Fraser Valley Regional District and Mission merely rents the property. He also speculates that a new council could be voted in and the MHA could be re-instated. The next election is scheduled for 2018.