Despite the many hurdles 2020 presented, the District of Mission has continued to move forward, that’s according to Coun. Cal Crawford.
Crawford, Mission’s acting-mayor for December, delivered an online State of the City address to members of the Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce, as part of its online luncheon.
Crawford spoke about the past year and what residents can expect to see in the coming 12 months.
“This year has challenged us all in ways we have never imagined and I’m proud of the work our community has done to rally together to keep each other safe and weather this pandemic as well as we have.”
He said the Covid crisis has shown that local government can work quickly and adapt to the changing needs of the community.
“We’ve also seen how important having space for recreation is during Covid-19 and we’re happy to be adding a brand new pump track facility to our community next year.”
Crawford said public safety is an important issue with citizens and in response, the district added four new career firefighters to enhance services.
“We have also made investment in traffic safety to make travelling around the community safer.”
In 2020 the district added new crosswalks, new sidewalks, anti-skid treatments on the roads and new speed reader boards.
“We have more to come on this with a large multi-year capital construction project slated for 14th Ave. to begin shortly.”
He also said the transit service has been expanded to include Sunday and holiday service.
“Over the next 10 months the District will create Mission Mobility 2050, a plan to address increasing pressures on the district’s transportation system, by making recommendations to improve all modes of transportation including walking, cycling, driving and transit.”
He asked the public to visit engage.mission.ca to provide online consultation on the proposed plan.
Crawford also spoke about the Employment Land Strategy, designed to provide direction on economic land use to work towards a diversification of the tax base. He said the plan will determine whether Mission will have sufficient land available to meet future employment demands.
The tourism industry was also highlighted as Crawford noted a brand new tourism website experience is coming online in 2021.
Tourism is also responsible for managing filming in Mission and last year the district saw 26 productions filmed here, consisting of 70 days of filming.
“While there was a province-wide lull in filming due to Covid-19 restrictions, you may have noticed that film crews are back in our community and production is as frequent as ever,” said Crawford.
He also touched on development, building permits, zoning, bylaw updates and more.
“2021 will be a busy year for important planning processes that will shape Mission for generations to come. We can look ahead to the long-awaited revitalization of Mission’s waterfront through a master-planning process that will get everyone, from residents, land owners, business owners and community stakeholders together at the table shaping the future of this neighbourhood.”
The district is also working on a large planning process for Silverdale to guide future growth and development and to plan a sustainable and complete community that Crawford said “reflects Silverdale’s unique sense of place.”
The Parr Local Area Plan consultation is also taking place.
Crawford said the district expects to receive needed approvals from the provincial and federal governments for the new sewer crossing across the Fraser River. Work is expected to take place between December 2021 and March 2022.
He also highlighted the ground-breaking land transfer agreement being negotiated that will see approximately 60 hectares of undeveloped Crown land change hands.
The District of Mission, the Provincial Government and the LMS Society (which includes the Leq’á:mel, Mathexwi and Semá:th First Nations) have been negotiating the deal for several years. The lands are adjacent to Fraser River Heritage Park.
“We will be one of the first communities in B.C. to see a reconciliation agreement of this kind,” said Crawford.
Other highlights from this year included the I Love Mission campaign which encourages the community to eat, shop, and support local, not just during the pandemic but into the future.
Crawford said the reclassification of Mission from a district to a city is still in progress.
He also said details regarding the upcoming by-election for the vacant mayor’s seat will be announced in the new year.