Walking through Fraser River Heritage Park, I was reminded how fortunate Mission is to have this beautiful space at our disposal. Throughout its history, the park has been developed and operated by the Mission Heritage Association. They have done an excellent job, building the park with countless donations, and thousands of volunteer hours of labour every year.
From its inception, the park has been owned by the Fraser River Regional District. In recent years, the park has been leased by the District of Mission and the district has continued to engage the MHA to manage and operate the park to great effect and economy. The district has exercised ultimate control over the park through a series of formal management and operating agreements.
Recently, tensions have arisen between the district and the FHA, primarily over the construction of new and expanded buildings. To the best of my knowledge, this construction had been formally approved by council resolutions. There are suggestions that the construction has not met building code standards. If true, this is a serious matter. If true, it is also a mystery how the construction would have been allowed to continue without formal building inspections by the district.
Clearly the district was aware of the construction, as were most of the people in Mission. While I am sure no deception was involved, it would seem that both parties must accept joint responsibility for whatever has occurred.
It is also clear that both the district and the MHA share the same goal – to provide a beautiful park setting that everyone in Mission can enjoy. However, this current dissension has arisen, it is unfortunate in the extreme. It has seriously injured a previously valued, and valuable, relationship that has served the people of Mission very well.
Damaged relationships can be rebuilt. All that is required is an honest desire to do so, a willingness to let go of the need to be right, and a respectful and honest dialogue. Such discussions do not occur in public.
I urge both parties to reconsider this situation and do what is required to both restore this relationship. Select a trusted individual to assist with the discussion, and find a solution that best serves the residents of Mission. With such a shared goal and vision, and all of the hard work and dedication that has occurred, any other outcome is both unimaginable and unacceptable.