Comments On Mission Plan To Relocate Highway 7

By October 5, 2014Guest Columns, Hot Topic

By George Evens. Mission has historically overlooked addressing the majority of Citizens, in most every sense. A mere 30.0% voted, 15.0% elected the Mayor and elected CRMG to accomplish a task, which was accomplished to replace a dysfunctional Council. Now, due, in part, their own mistakes and lack of leadership find themselves in the sights to be replaced by competent individuals. But, the process of more scientific referendum is selectively debated.

Thus, we rely upon a lot of personal opinions, notably via social media sources, that most often does not resemble fact based opinion rather typically self-interest, emotional, misguided, out of frustration and often well meaning but too narrow and short-range focused.

Most events to discuss important issues are poorly attended, inadequately advertised and as often, the same segment of society may be found in attendance. The recent “Branding” event is typical and as I commented under that article in lengthy evidence, it would be deemed to be negative, by some, albeit reality. The “Branding” issue may proceed, with comments from approx. 60 Citizens attending. Mr. Clark viewed the RECORD poll inadequate because it did not include a price but I doubt any poll has ever included a cost, it is just a blip measurement of those commenting on an idea.

We suddenly find old-line (politicians) venturing opinion and I ventured the opinion listening to Randy Hawes, a candidate for Mayor, it is like talking to him back in 1995, same thought process and opposition, while progress and charette has been undertaken, he is still in time warp and would ask Mission to step back instead of progressing wisely. Likewise, Mr. Clark is pretending to speak for Mission Citizens by suggesting none support some or any ideas presented, not so! He says better ways to spend $6 million and I harken back to examples like an $8 million Leisure Centre over-run or maybe $1 million mistake with Cedar Connector but while symptomatic of opponents like this, we will find many mistakes occur, in part, due to lack of research, development, project manager selected, sources of funding, not solely from tax payer that in such narrow isolation too easy to wrongly use as an excuse for moribund governance and lack of financial acumen.

A small but symptomatic element is “Welton Common” and some have asked “what & where” is this, rightly so. We need a public engagement entity that will ensure the public is duly informed, for example, a clear example of indeed Welton Common. Similarly, that an environment is created on any given subject, like “Branding” that the public is fully informed on topic, process input needed, comparison examples from elsewhere, early and continuous advertising of an event and stress need for public debate. Simply, it is past time to be using improper inadequate participation surveys, meetings and such, that themselves are unsuccessful, that to proceed blindly from that point is foolhardy, at best. A few people remarking on social media is fine for them but in no manner is an excuse for proper and factual discussion, debate and full disclosure of all facts, not just emotional opinion.

Meanwhile the need to improve vehicle movement is subject to three interdependent facts, a bypass, two-way or restricted pedestrian use on 1st, making downtown consumer friendly and thus a two-way on Railway, with those establishments and the waterfront all incorporated into an adjoining development. Indeed, with a downtown civic centre, art gallery, seniors’ centre, city hall and other amenities all aligned into an effective downtown selected strip, Mission could become not only a community treasure but a tourist destination, including and even a developer established under/above ground parking parkade, strategically located. We need to start talking in broader context and facts and less about trying to demean opponents, an issue like Mr. Hawes will divorce the parkade as too expensive a venture, in isolation to broad project and sources of funding and as always, the individual believing their opinion is right and all opponents obviously wrong, to the chagrin of most, who strangely, in fact, usually are more astute than the self-absorbed commenter and their often narrow perspective.

But you will find selective opposition to each item which is symptomatic of the old-line thinking of politicians, bureaucrats and their ilk of support, which pales in comparison to Missions development and progress needs. Thus this issue of downtown streets, to hastily call a small number of emotionally charged combatents to discuss, ought to be tabled to the next Mayor & Council to give due diligence and process and opportunity to explore any feasibility to transportation needs.

As well, it is ludicrous to even tout a cost of $6 million, without first, a detailed explanation of each dollar to be expended so we can witness where money would be going, not just blurt out such a ridiculous and overwhelming amount. But when we are proceeding in selective isolation, as may be subscribed by the likes of Mr. Hawes, we find ourselves in the “catch-22” scenario. In part, if he has us delete the bypass, because Ministry of Environment don’t like, the rest becomes an academic issue, at best. Such a venture is fraught with obvious pitfalls that largely render street traffic, loading and parking as more significant and thus fodder for defeat and sadly, we continue to remain in the 1995 mindset and conditions, that naturally will attract his crony ilk of support wearing traditional blinders and trying to dismiss proponents by perceived bullying tactics and overwhelming defenceless rhetoric.

Thus, it become the first priority task to get a bypass location and plan in place and the “political-will_ to do so by Province, second to dovetail plans for Lougheed more pedestrain friendly and to accommodate traffic, Railway becomes the road of choice. Let me hasten to add, many do not venture along Lougheed from Cedar Connector instead seeking alternate roadways. So, we are only addressing those seeking to bypass Mission and those local movement to the east and downtown destinations. Simply, instead of relying on lack of evidence and knowledge or negative perspective, we collectively need to develop a pro-active mindset, “how can we achieve desired results”, but this will take a new visionary and innovate Mayor & Council who are awaiting in the wings. Let me hasten to add, voters must become more diligent in vetting candidates for office, abandon the emotional rhetoric in favour of individuals who may be well rounded in business but equally in social needs, our Seniors’ and Animals and not lacking the vision, innovation, compassion and energy needed to openly debate all Citizens needs, not self-interests or friends only.

It think too, it is time for leaders & bureaucrats to assess if they are not getting adequate public engagement, they consider engaging someone qualified to develop this aspect of community involvement and assess why such apathy and indifference exists and is so prevailing at Mission. In this vein, while academic in law, what is an acceptable voter turnout and thus, if too low, maybe a network of (Advisers) may accommodate guidance to leaders and bureaucrats and less reliance of individual judgment, “just because the were elected”. which is often lacking. As well, when contemplating a cause/issue/program or such, establish aforehand what may be an acceptable audience number of attendee to measure how to then proceed, such as if only 60 people attend a “Branding” event, maybe something was remiss and another better planned venue and attempt may be needed?

It is time to start assessing Candidates and election issues, to temporarily place such issues as Branding, Downtown transportation and other major projects aside until a new Mayor and Council can take charge and more adequately carry-on the significant work started by retiring CRMG, toward fruition.

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