I am concerned about how the $3.5 million approved by the Mission City Council for downtown improvements will be spent.
According to press reports, the money is to be spent on new light poles, sidewalk improvements, trees, bike racks new light poles and banners, etc. I don’t think this is going to significantly improve the downtown area.
We already have light poles with flower brackets and banner hangers; council could immediately save $200,000 by keeping the same light poles and painting them. Of more serious concern to the downtown area are the number of sorry-looking buildings. With a few exceptions, many of the buildings are in serious need of upgrades.
What is lacking on the political side is real leadership and action to encourage building owners to get in line with a master downtown building theme, such as a train station retro look or something on the likes of the Fort Langley historical theme.
This council appears to be set to waste a bunch of money on superficial items that will not address the real problem.
The Mission Downtown Action Plan clearly identified that the first priority is establishing a pedestrian-friendly downtown area and to have a bypass. There is no mention in the list of current improvements for a commercial truck bypass. Anyone who has been downtown lately can quickly see the real problem with establishing a pedestrian-friendly downtown is the intensity and volume of traffic thronging the downtown core.
Who wants to take a leisurely walk downtown to face a constant barrage of truck traffic and noise?
The previous council under mayor Ted Adlem was taking steps in the right direction to have a bypass. Mayor Hawes and a new council get elected and what happens to the bypass? My confidence in this present council and Mayor Hawes was seriously eroded by the mishandling of the observatory project. I am not confident that they have their priorities right with this current downtown improvement expenditure.
Another concern I have is a lack of major economic day and night anchors in the downtown area. What has the council done to draw in a major day anchor such as perhaps a Thrifty’s grocery store to service new residents of the downtown area? For a night anchor, why not choose a first-class nightclub, such as something like the Roxy in Vancouver?