As municipalities enter the last year of current council governing, soul-searching and thought must form part of future deliberations on who should lead our communities. Change is the buzz word to most. Creating change, but equally, managing changes in the best interests of all citizens.
Change is drastically needed in the Fraser Valley. New leaders, with broader visions, innovative ideas and absolutely crucial empathy and compassion. The key is deciding who is capable, and who deserves our votes.
Mission has transitioned from a successive group of moribund councils, and now two years into Citizens for Responsible Municipal Government (CRMG) tenure, they too are ready to be replaced by a more functional and progressive body.
Some positive steps are reviewing downtown redevelopment and waterfront development which ought to be continued as high priority.
Equally, on the human side two crucial initiatives need to be advanced, which have life, health and death implications, notably pertaining to forgotten seniors and unwanted companion animals, particularly cats. Thus, I recommend council place two financial borrowing items on a November 2014 election ballot referendum:
1. To borrow up to $500,000 to upgrade the existing animal control shelter and add a state-of-the-art cat facility to it, and establish a $85,000 annual administration budget.
2. To borrow up to $6 million to build a 12,000 sq. ft. seniors’ activity centre on district-owned land adjacent the Leisure Centre, incorporating 300 to 600 sq. ft. single residences, along with low-cost and some market value seniors’ residences.
These are two of the most overlooked facilities for the most vulnerable in society. These are viable components of an inclusive age-friendly community that successive councils have neglected.
I formed the Council Animal Advocacy (CLAW) in 1995 and The Elder Citizen Action Coalition (ECAC) to advocate respectfully for these two important entities, giving respect and meaning to their lives. People claim to care, but talk is cheap. I feel Mission voters need to display the vision, innovation and compassion to make true improvement to the lives of seniors and animals.
We will need increased voter turnout and the political will to elect a more caring and adept council.
George F. Evens