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  • joannamcbride

Our Community. Our Home. Our Mission.

t’s difficult seeing your own small town grow. It can be an irrecoverable loss of small town pride, feeling like nostalgia is being ripped away. Although the fear of the unknown can be overwhelming, change is inevitable. Most have us have always known this would happen.

Whether we like it or not, we cannot stop growth. Connected by both commuter rail and a major highway, Mission is soon to be a part of the Greater Vancouver Regional District. Development is no longer on its way. It’s here. And it’s here to stay.

Born and raised in Mission, Jag Cheema is a real estate agent specializing in the sale and purchase of development land in and around the Fraser Valley. He is someone who not only loves his home, but has the expertise and insight in both rural development and the specialized neighbourhood market.

Throughout the past two years, we have seen an increase of young professionals leaving the high cost of city living behind them. Buyers are pushing east and east means Mission. Every day, people are trading in their frenetic cosmopolitan lifestyle for stability, relaxation, peace of mind and flexibility,

“For every 1 person leaving, there are 10 more coming in. Housing prices are skyrocketing.” Jag clarifies, “Of course, Mission is only in possession of so many active listings, and this significant lack of product is now accelerating construction.”

Every community has its own pros and cons, it’s own strengths and weaknesses, and Mission is no exception. City folk are enticed with our natural beauty, our backyard recreation and our urban proximity. We attract investors because, unlike any other community, we are in possession of so much land.

“Mission is perfect for investors,” Jag points out. “So much of our town is prime area for further development.”

Is Mission ready for such an instantaneous surge? Some critical infrastructure has long been neglected. Many roads and bridges are in desperate need of replacement or repair. Smaller streets, fewer parking spots and commuting traffic can be insufferable. All reasonable justifications warranted to intercept expansion, but these are not the only struggles facing a small town bedroom community recently turned ‘soon-to-be’ bustling metropolitan municipality.

“The City is overwhelmed by the dramatic increase in development applications," Jag Cheema says, with a touch of poignancy in his voice. “We simply cannot keep up with the demand.”

Developers are coming to Mission with deep pockets and they are arriving faster than our little town is ready for. Without time on their side, staff are doing their best, working amid staff shortages. The planning department is overwhelmed with building permits and development applications.

The recent growth spurt is corporate, which could signify the loss of our small town touch.

“This is exactly why the Downtown core is so important,” Jag explains. “These individually owned buildings and businesses create a magnetic hub that connects the community.” Our historical downtown is imperative to our small town culture and represents something much stronger than any chain.

There are two kinds of change: planned change and unplanned. Successful communities must have a plan in place for the future. Vision and a well-thought-out plan helps to create an effective strategy for growth. Our planners are already active in introducing new parks, playgrounds, bike lanes and waterfront appeal.

Now is the perfect time for Mission to educate ourselves on our inevitable growth and become an integral part of the solution. There are numerous opportunities to attend City engagements, public forums, and council meetings.

Let’s be in this together, Mission. It’s our home.

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