So Randy Hawes has stirred up a controversy to promote his potential run for the mayor’s chair by dumping on the district’s Downtown Revitalization Plan.
In trying to show that he knows better than professional planners and consultants, as well as the many merchants and citizens who participated in the extensive public consultation dialogue, Hawes has offended the Downtown Business Association who rightly called him out for this insulting case of political opportunism.
Hawes is, of course, entitled to his views. Had he chosen to share his wisdom during the consultation process, this would have been quite welcome and might have contributed to a better plan.
A major part of Hawes’ objections involve the traffic flow changes on Lougheed Highway and North Railway Avenue. This, unfortunately, is a problem without a good solution.
As an election promise made by the Citizens for Responsible Municipal Government (CRMG) in the November 2011 Mission Messenger, “Truck traffic through downtown is a major problem causing noise and a very noticeable pollution of diesel fumes. CRMG would, in conjunction with the Ministry of Highways, divert through truck traffic via the Murray Street overpass to Cedar [Connector] and Lougheed.”
Hawes, as our MLA and a founding supporter of CRMG, was (presumably) well aware of this plan, which council adopted in 2012 and submitted to the province, where it died. On this key issue – the crucial first step in downtown renewal, Hawes as our MLA was MIA; Hawes was either unable or unwilling to provide the representation needed to obtain provincial approval.
CRMG’s plan for truck diversion was only a workable compromise, given that the province’s long planned highway bypass remains at least 20 years away. But, at much lower cost, it would have avoided the traffic flow and parking issues to which Hawes now objects.