Setting priorities is an important move for any municipal council and Mission has made it clear that recreation and parks will be a major focus.
It’s been six months since this council was elected and in that time it has announced the Stave West master plan, ended the contract with the Mission Heritage Association to run Fraser River Heritage Park, and just this week, announced plans to create a parks advisory committee to look at improving infrastructure and amenities.
Individually, each project could be interpreted as council managing the day-to-day needs of the district, but as a whole, it’s clear they are committed to making wholesale changes to Mission’s recreation scene.
Mission Mayor Randy Hawes calls it improving livability, adding that improving parks and recreation will help attract new business and families to the area.
He’s likely right.
Certainly, the Stave West plan has been needed for years. The area’s natural beauty and obvious potential for tourism dollars has been hampered by a lack of planning, an absence of facilities, and the difficulty of policing such a large, distant area.
Stave West had become a destination for drunken partying, shooting and other activities that aren’t family-friendly. The new development plan can only help clean it up and attract visitors.
Parks improvements is also an easy idea to get behind. Creating an advisory committee to examine needs and make suggestions makes sense. Who better to decide what facilities a park needs than the people who use it.
The only question mark is the decision to end the contract for Fraser River Heritage Park. The Mission Heritage Association has run the park for 35 years.
Only time will tell if the park grass is greener when under new management.