Year in Review

A look back at the top headlines in Mission from 2014

  • Fri Jan 2nd, 2015 1:00pm
  • News

January

• Coun. Nelson Tilbury said Coun. Dave Hensman appeared to have a conflict of interest because he had “acquired an interest” in a property located on the southeast corner of First Avenue and Welton Street. The property is about a block away from the former Buy Low building, recently purchased by the city.

• Mission council took steps to increase traffic on the Fraser River by amending its industrial general zone to include barge loading as a permitted use. The move was aimed at taking trucks off the roads, creating more good-paying jobs, and conforming the existing properties that have barge loading facilities.

• District of Mission and police stepped up education and enforcement campaigns in West Stave Lake after the area was vandalized, shot up, and damaged by rowdy outdoor users. Every road sign and bridge marker was hit by bullets and garbage was piled in front of forestry gates. Outhouses and picnic areas were damaged and vehicles were burned.

• Two councillors, Jeff Jewell and Jenny Stevens, resigned from the political slate, Citizens for Responsible Municipal Government. All council members elected in 2011 were part of CRMG. Stevens said recent conflict of interest allegations surrounding Coun. Hensman somewhat influenced her decision, but “are no more than the final straw.”

February

• A legal opinion obtained by the District of Mission in regard to the conflict of interest allegations surrounding Coun. Dave Hensman concluded that the case of a conflict was not clear and obvious, and that there was a strong chance that an application to resolve the matter in BC Supreme Court would fail. Hensman and Mayor Ted Adlem referenced the legal opinion when they explained why they voted against sending the issue to court last month. Coun. Larry Nundal also rejected such a move.

• Coun. Tony Luck broke away from Citizens for Responsible Municipal Government. Luck cited an “irreconcilable split of CRMG” and a lack of confidence in the mayor’s leadership as reasons for his departure.

• Mayor Ted Adlem took over as chair of all six standing committees in Mission. In the past, each councillor was assigned one of six portfolios and was handed the gavel when items related to their department was up for discussion. The change, Adlem had said, would encourage councillors to familiarize themselves with every department, not just the one they were responsible for.

• Mission council passed a motion of a lack of confidence in the mayor. Introduced by Coun. Jenny Stevens, the motion was supported by Coun. Tony Luck, Jeff Jewell and Nelson Tilbury. The four also said they wanted to disassociate themselves from the mayor’s actions and statements unless there was a prior resolution from council. Couns. Hensman and Nundal and the mayor opposed the motion.

• District of Mission employee April Smith was charged in connection with the disappearance of $116,000 from the Mission RCMP detachment’s exhibit room. The money was discovered missing during a routine audit in January 2013.

• More than 1,000 B.C. youth came to Mission for the B.C. Winter Games. Young athletes competed in 18 events over four days. The opening and closing ceremonies were held at Mission Raceway Park. Mission short track speed skater Jamie Green made a huge medal haul in the U14 girls division, including three golds, one silver, and two bronze.

March

• A 13-year-old shih tzu-poodle cross named Nugget was unharmed in a car crash that killed her owner. She survived two nights near the accident scene in Deroche before she was found by searchers who had been looking for her when they learned about the accident.

• Upgrades to the Ruskin Dam began. The $748-million project is expected to be finished in 2018. This is the first significant renovation to the dam since it was opened 85 years ago.

• The municipality purchased 500 water meters for a pilot project to compare water consumption in older homes against newer houses. The meters were installed in the West Heights area where about 500 residences were built in the 1970s. About 300 homes built after 2009 will also be part of the program.

• Construction for the Rotary Observatory and Space Centre at Fraser River Heritage Park began. About $140,000 was raised to build the 2,100-sq.ft. facility.

April

• Mission’s manager of civic engagement and corporate initiatives, Jennifer Kinneman, resigned. Nine senior managers and 34 full-time employees have left their positions at the district since 2012, and 13 have retired. Between 2009 and 2011, 28 full-time employees resigned from their posts while 12 retired.

• The Residence in Mission (TRIM) welcomed its first residents. TRIM was built for $29.5 million and replaces Mission Memorial Hospital’s extended health unit, the Dr. Stuart Pavilion, which was closed in 2011.

Ron Leger was named a Freeman of the City, while Bob Ingram was named this year’s Citizen of the Year in Mission. Leger has lived in Mission since 1983 and was the leader behind building a new food bank at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on Seventh Avenue. Ingram was involved with 14 non-profit organizations at the time of the award, including the Mission Association for Community Living, Mission Community Services Society, and Mission Seniors’ Centre task force.

• Three suspicious fires were set in the Bowie Drive area in one night. Nobody was injured in the incidents, but the residents in the neighbourhood were shaken up and concerned about their safety.

• Fraser Health Authority announced a residence for mental health clients will be part of Mission’s campus of care. The plan was to convert the former Pleasant View facility on Hurd Street to a 54-bed mental health residential campus.

May

• A mobile home fire on Lougheed Highway claimed the life of 86-year-old Bill Murphy. His body was discovered inside the trailer after firefighters put out the deliberately set fire.

• Nine teaching and seven CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employee) support staff positions were eliminated to help Mission school district balance its budget. The majority of this year’s shortfall was a result of declining enrolment and CUPE contract increases.

• A one-day teachers’ strike closed schools in Mission. The strike was part of the BC Teachers’ Federation job action plan to place pressure on the province during contract negotiations.

• A barge in Silverdale was damaged by fire, but the water around it was not harmed by hydrocarbons, authorities confirmed. The barge belonged to a scrap metal recycling business and contained free floating waste oils, such as hydraulic, diesel, or old engine oil.

June

• Track and field athletes at Hatzic Secondary School owned the podium at the provincial championships. Hatzic was one of the smaller teams, but ended up as one of the most prolific award-winners, with seven medals including four golds. Adam Lambert led the charge with a gold and two silvers.

• One of Mission’s best known artists and writers, Doris Paterson, passed away just shy of her 90th birthday. She was a lifetime member of the Mission Arts Council and was well known in the arts community.

• Mission school board trustees voted unanimously to merge all three high schools into one by September 2015. Trustees said there were not enough students at each Mission, Heritage Park, or Hatzic high schools to staff and offer certain courses.

• Dedicated community volunteer, activist and author, Catherine Marcellus, passed away at the age of 91. She was a founding member of Lifetime Learning Centre Society and fought to keep services at Mission Memorial Hospital. She earned many awards, including Mission Citizen of the year, Freeman of the City, and Citizen of the Millennium.

• Mayor Ted Adlem announced his plans to lead the Citizens for Responsible Municipal Government team in the next election.

July

• Fraser Valley Regional District took steps to take a popular hiking trail, Dewdney Grind, under its wing to protect it from potential logging operations. The trail was built on Crown land by local residents and is not a designated trail.

• Searchers looked for a Mission man, Mike Murphy, on Kinbasket Lake. He was in the area working on the Mica Dam, and according to police, left in an aluminum boat to go fishing with a friend but didn’t return. The search effort turned into a recovery mission when he was not located almost a week later.

• Race season at Mission Raceway Park was put on hold as repairs to the track continued. Concrete-pouring problems have plagued efforts to repair the track surface since February.  To make up for loss time, the BC Custom Car Association combined the annual Smoke, Fire and Thunder event with the Lucas Oil Canadian National Open.

• Mission dancer Gina Janus-Spedding returned home with Fiji’s VOU to be a part of the Mission Folk Music Festival. Janus-Spedding started dancing at age 10 and moved to the South Pacific after university to continue her career.

• Mission Mounties investigated two fires on the same street in one week, but said the incidents were not connected. The first blaze was intentionally set at a house on Egglestone. It was believed to have been started by a child. A GMC Jimmy was damaged in the second suspicious fire. Police found a small plastic gasoline can on the ground near the vehicle.

August

• A former Mission resident, Doris Nelson, pleaded guilty to 110 criminal charges in connection with an investment scheme she ran for more than eight years. Nelson was a resident of Washington State when she was arrested. She raised about $137 million from at least 650 investors from around the world, including a few from Mission.

• More than 23,000 people attended the Rockin River Music Festival in Mission, despite the cancellation of its headline act, Rascal Flatts. Festival organizers brought in Randy Houser in time for the event.

• Skeletal remains discovered near Hayward Lake by forestry workers in May were identified by the BC Coroners Service as belonging to Mission resident Laura Pesek.  Foul play was ruled out.

• A new zone to accommodate businesses with barge loading facilities along the Fraser River was created by the district. The zoning amending bylaw was approved two days after a public hearing.

September

• Property owners were warned that they are on the hook for costs associated with fighting human-caused fires in buildings used by squatters after a structure fire in an abandoned house on Second Avenue had to be put out by Mission fire crews. Nobody was inside the home when firefighters entered the building, but there was evidence it had been frequented by squatters.

Insp. Ted De Jager was named the new officer in charge of the Mission RCMP detachment. De Jager was a 16-year veteran of the force and was in the Canadian Forces before joining the RCMP.

• Mission council lifted the district’s ban on harm reduction treatment clinics for drug addicts.

• A large clandestine drug lab was discovered after a structure fire brought fire crews to the area of Horne Street and Glasgow Avenue. About 60 kilograms of suspected MDMA (commonly known as ecstasy) was seized by police.

• Dedicated Mission volunteer Val Hundert passed away at the age of 88. Hundert was a part of the Mission Artists Association, Mission Arts Council, Mission Health Care Auxiliary, and the Mission Heritage Association. She received numerous awards including the BC Seniors, Mission’s Citizen of the Year, Freeman, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

October

• Three families on Best Avenue near Cedar Street launched court action against the District of Mission for damages on their properties. They claim their homes are sinking because they were built on unstable fill on top of a district culvert/right of way.

• District of Mission sought input from the public on a plan to relocate Lougheed Highway traffic from First Avenue to N. Railway Avenue. Moving the highway was identified as one of the 10 big moves in the district’s plan to revitalize downtown.

• Mission Secondary School was selected as the location for the district’s only high school. The school would accommodate students in Grades 10, 11, and 12. Heritage Park and Hatzic secondary schools would turn into middle schools for students in Grades 7, 8, and 9.

Rockin River MusicFest organizers announced plans to move the popular country music festival to Merritt next year. Festival president Kenny Hess said a new location was needed to accommodate the growth of the event.

November

• Mayor Ted Adlem launched legal action in BC Supreme Court, alleging former councillor Ron Taylor and his wife sent defamatory statements about him, and threatening political blackmail to numerous election candidates and senior staff at the District of Mission. The Taylors denied any involvement.

• Randy Hawes was elected as mayor in the civic election. Jim Hinds, Pam Alexis, Carol Hamilton, Danny Plecas, Jenny Stevens, and Rhett Nicholson were elected as councillors. Jim Taylor, Tracy Loffler, Rick McKamey, and Randy Cairns were elected as schools trustees. All members of the CRMG slate lost their seats, including incumbent Mayor Ted Adlem.

• The Mission Friendship Centre was labelled as “in difficulty” by the provincial organization that oversees such centres following complaints from former employees and members. Executive director Grace Cunningham said the centre is working “to address the challenges…”

Doreen Cameron, a longtime Steelhead resident who helped shaped the northern community, passed away at the age of 89. Cameron was involved with community events and a walking route in the municipal forest called Doreen’s Trail was named in her honour.

December

• Mission Mounties investigated a bomb scare at the Safeway in the Mission Hills Mall. The store was cleared and employees and shoppers returned a couple of hours later. No explosives were found.

• Mission resident Dustin McDonald was charged with a number of offences after a police vehicle was shot at. The incident occurred in the 32900 block of Best Avenue.

• Plans developed by the previous council to help revitalize downtown were put on hold by the newly elected politicians. Mission’s new council voted to not proceed with a $6-million project to move Highway 7 off First Avenue and to postpone development of the Welton Street plan until options exploring the acquisition of the post office building at the corner of First Avenue and Welton Street are considered.