Rebuilding relationships top task for new mayor

Other priorities for mayor and council will be known at inauguration

Even before he takes office, mayor-elect Randy Hawes is meeting with the rest of the newly elected council members to discuss the work that has to be done to move Mission forward.

“Everyone had a bit of a platform, and I appreciate it, ” said Hawes, who will be identifying priorities with fellow council members before presenting them at the inauguration ceremony on Dec. 1.

One of the first things on Hawes’ list is to meet with district staff and repair relationships.

“We have a staff morale problem,” said Hawes.  “It has to be fixed. They are the face of our community. Council is there to provide governance, but staff do the work.”

Hawes is also not forging ahead with the current plan to revitalize downtown. He suspects there are “serious infrastructure problems” downtown with drainage and sanitary sewer lines and would like to find out what is underneath the pavement before building on top of it.

Hawes is worried that the system cannot accommodate the growth taking place above Seventh Avenue.

“In a severe storm, there could be flooding here,” said Hawes. “We have to know if the infrastructure is solid.”

Hawes is also not convinced re-routing the Lougheed Highway will benefit downtown.

“Moving the highway now is not an option,” said Hawes, who would like to look at other ways to move heavy traffic out of downtown, like a bypass near the waterfront, or a route to the north that was talked about many years ago.

“I don’t know what the city has now… or what right of ways are in place.”

The development of the Welton Plaza will also be put on hold. Hawes would like the city to acquire the post office building at the corner of First Avenue and Welton Street when Canada Post moves out. He would like to see it designated as a historic building with a civic use.

“I personally want to see a fine arts centre, but that’s open for discussion,” said Hawes. “Putting a fine arts centre there would bring a lot of people downtown and that could be the game changer.”

The mayor-elect would also like to see social issues addressed downtown, including addictions and homelessness. He wants to look into having a mental health worker for the district, and has plans to talk to police about other ideas.

Councillor-elect Rhett Nicholson, who lives and owns a business downtown also has ideas to improve the area. He has set up a meeting with the Downtown Business Association to discuss the issue.

“Everyone wants to see downtown clean up and we all have different ideas,” said Nicholson, who knows a better shopping atmosphere is needed.

Downtown is a priority, but there are others too, said Hawes.

Other actions Hawes will be focussing on when he takes office is forming a new partnership with the school board, building a new skateboard park and a new seniors’ centre, and helping families with sinking homes on Best Avenue near Cedar Street.

“It’s completely wrong any citizen should sit in that situation (with a home that’s sinking) for as long as they have,” said Hawes. “I know every person on this (new) council believes it’s unconscionable and want to do something about it.”

Pam Alexis, who received the most votes for councillor in the election, echoed Hawes’ desire to rebuild relationships first.

“I know there is a lot of hard work ahead, but I am confident this council has the necessary skill set and passion to get it done,” said Alexis, who listed the top three issues to address are public safety, keeping taxes low, and business development.

Councillor-elect Jim Hinds, who has attended council meetings regularly for the last nine years agreed “respect” needs to be brought back into municipal hall.

“There are a lot of things that need to be done, but it will all have to take time to do,” said Hinds.

Just Posted

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Woman’s 100-km birthday marathon from Chilliwack to Abbotsford will benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Mission students hold rally, say everyone welcome at school

Ecole Christine Morrison Elementary School hosted an Anti-Racism Day on June 15

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Surrey Fire Service battled a dock fire along the Fraser River late Friday night (June 18). It was on Musqueam Drive, near Industrial Road, around 10:45 p.m. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Fire engulfs pier on Surrey side of the Fraser River

Dock has reportedly been unused for a long time

People in Metro Vancouver can expect to experience a short wave of heat just in time for Father’s Day, according to Environment Canada. (Black Press Media files)
Short-lived heatwave headed for Metro Vancouver this weekend

Temperatures are expected to be up to 10 degrees higher than average Sunday and Monday

Most Read