The decision whether Mission remains a district or becomes a city will be left to the public.
On Monday, council is set to discuss, and expected to approve, a plan to begin the “alternative approval” process at the end of August to seek public input on the change.
The decision to begin the reclassification process from district to city was approved by council in June of this year.
At that time it was decided that, rather than hold a costly referendum, the alternative approval process would be used.
Under this process, notice of the reclassification is circulated to resident electors and non-resident property owners. If the district receives objections or opposing responses from more than 10 per cent of electors, then the idea does not move forward.
The report, being presented to council on Monday night, requests some formal resolutions needed, as part of the legislation, to begin the process. If approved, advertising of the process and copies of the objection forms will be available beginning Aug. 23.
The forms will be accepted starting Aug. 31 and will end at 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 11.
Elector response forms will be available on the district’s website (mission.ca) and by request at municipal hall, Welton Common and the Mission Leisure Centre.
“We’ve spent the past couple of weeks preparing for the process, making sure we have all the resolutions we need. As long as they (council) pass those resolutions, then we are off to the races as of next Friday,” explained Michael Boronowski, manager of civic engagement and corporate initiatives.
The entire process is expected to cost $8,500.
According to the report, the area for the alternative approval process will be the entire District of Mission. The estimated total number of electors in that area is 28,735. That means 2,873 people need to officially oppose the change to defeat it.
If a reclassification request is submitted and approved by the provincial government, the District of Mission would legally be known as the City of Mission.
If the district reclassifies, it is estimated by staff that an additional one-time preliminary cost of $190,000 – that could be split over the 2020 and 2021 fiscal years – would be needed for the successful implementation of reclassification, including rebranding and the updating of the district website.
“Council hasn’t approved any budget for the rebranding or replacement of the website. That’s not part and parcel of becoming a city. We could become a city and remove the word ‘district’ from our logo and keep on rolling as the City of Mission, at almost no cost,” Boronowski said.
Council would not vote on any budget concerns until the fall.
According to the staff report, city classification is seen as an asset in that it indicates a more progressive municipality and can aid in attracting businesses and developing partnerships with groups and individuals who aren’t familiar with B.C.’s municipal classifications and regional districts. Staff say that reclassification also reduces confusion between the Fraser Valley Regional District, Mission Public School District, and the District of Mission.