Mission mayor says relationship with Abbotsford still strong

by Jason Roessle, Black Press

Mission’s relationship with Abbotsford is strong, according to Mayor James Atebe, despite the fact the neighbouring cities are going a different route on a water system.

Abbotsford residents will vote Nov. 19 on a referendum whether to move forward with a public-private partnership (P3) that will access up to $65.7-million in federal grant money for a water system using Stave Lake as its source.

Mission council decided April 4 it would not partner with Abbotsford on the project, due to Mission residents’ concerns about private involvement.

Atebe says Mission hadn’t finished “doing its homework” on the proposal, and therefore couldn’t support the idea.

“That decision stands,” he said.

If Abbotsford voters give the the go-ahead, an extensive public consultation process will follow, given that infrastructure will need to be installed through Mission to reach across the Fraser River.

Mission’s water demands are not as pressing as Abbotsford’s, he continued.

“Mission has options,” said Atebe. “Our water source is sufficient for now. Abbotsford is in a more critical situation than we are. Council doesn’t believe Mission is in the same pressure cooker.”

District staff is currently exploring other alternatives.

The City of Abbotsford has said the current water supply will not be adequate after 2016.

And while contentious, Mission’s mayor maintains there has been no souring between the municipalities.

“This is only one issue. We still continue to have a very strong relationship with Abbotsford,” including discussions about shared transit, sewer and health care.

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