FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Prince George, BC – In many ways, 2022 was a transformative year for Prince George. Not only did a general local election establish new city leadership for the next four years, the gradual re-opening of public life restored a sense of normalcy to a community stifled since 2019 by the pandemic.
Sporting events and large-scale entertainment also made a triumphant return to the city. Prince George hosted the 2022 World Women’s Curling Championship after COVID-19 forced the event’s cancellation in 2020. The CN Centre – Prince George’s premier entertainment venue – was once again the go-to place for residents in need of live entertainment this year with events such as:
- Cirque du Soleil’s OVO
- Rogers Hometown Hockey
- Celtic Illusion
- Northern FanCon 2022
- Cariboo Rocks the North 2022
- YMCA Park House Care and Early Learning Centre opened in downtown Prince George on schedule and on budget. This $3.6 million City project was funded through the Province’s Childcare BC New Spaces Fund and is operated by the YMCA. It provides 85 new childcare spaces.
- Closed captioning technology is introduced to live Council meeting streams to improve accessibility. The captioning is automatically generated and improves accessibility for audiences who are hearing impaired.
- The City of Prince George, in partnership with Downtown Prince George, launched a marketing and placemaking strategy with a survey to collect public input on finding ways to invigorate the downtown. The Downtown Marketing and Placemaking Strategy is one of the City’s strategic priorities as outlined in its Council-approved 2020-2025 Economic Development Strategy.
- Council approved a proposal for the City to submit a bid to host the 2025 Special Olympics in B.C.
- The City announced an Olympic celebration event to honour Prince George’s Olympians, including two-time bronze medalist Meryeta O’Dine. O’Dine was the first Prince George resident to ever win an Olympic medal after capturing bronze in the individual women’s snowboard cross event at the Beijing Olympics.
- Council approved a third daycare project in Prince George. The daycare at 8008 Malaspina Avenue will feature 83 spaces and is fully-funded through a $5,061,038 Provincial Government grant. Along with the new YMCA Parkhouse Care and Early Learning Centre, and the Tsuhl’ Cho Daycare on Dagg Road, the Malaspina daycare brings the number of new childcare spaces in the city to 228. These capital projects were made possible by nearly $10.5 million in provincial funding and a $1 million grant from the Union of BC Municipalities.
- Rogers Hometown Hockey announced a return to Prince George and residents celebrated the game they love from April 9 to April 11.
- The Rocky Mountain Rangers marked the 10th anniversary of its return to Prince George at Council’s March 28 meeting.
- The City launched its Young Professionals Network to provide professionals who are new to the city or growing in their careers with opportunities to connect to others and the community.
- The City was honoured by the BC Construction Association (BCCA) for its engagement with industry. The BCCA singled out Prince George for a special commendation for consistently setting positive examples to other public owners when procuring construction services.
- The Federal and Provincial Governments invested $3.2 million in grant money through the CleanBC Communities Fund to help the Kin Centre Arenas operate cleaner and more efficiently. The money was earmarked to add a heat recovery system to the ammonia refrigeration plant at the Kin Arenas and to upgrade heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.
- The City launched a survey to collect citizen input on a proposed “Mega Park”. The idea was proposed by the Prince George Community Foundation and Rotary Club of Prince George that want to se a large and comprehensive park develop on civic property. The proposed “Mega Park” may include a paved pump track, junior and youth adventure parks, a seniors-friendly outdoor fitness station, and an inclusive and accessible playground for all ages and mobility levels.
- The new downtown pool received its name after the City and Canfor announced a naming rights partnership. The agreement provides the City with $75,000 in yearly revenue for five years (totalling $375,000) with a mutual renewal term for another five years at the same rate.
- Motor sports fans were thrilled by monster trucks, ATV races, and more at Monster Spectacular held at the CN Centre during the May long weekend.
- The City announced the official opening of its first-ever tournament-standard beach volleyball courts. The new courts are the second beach volleyball courts in Prince George (the first being the purely-recreational ones at Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park).
- The First Avenue Housing and Healthcare Partnership project between BC Housing and the City opened its first 50 purpose-built homes for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
- Council directed Administration to continue to address Reconciliation priorities, based on the City’s commitment to the Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities.
- Council approved a staff request to submit a bid to co-host the 55+ BC Summer Games in 2026 with the City of Quesnel.
- Prince George joined the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George’s Public Alerting System. The system lets all registered contacts receive texts, voice calls, or emails with public safety notifications and evacuation alerts and orders.
- The City, in partnership with the BC Games Society, the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, and a team of 2200 volunteers and sponsors, successfully hosted the BC Summer Games. The BC Summer Games were held in several City venues involving some 3000 athletes in 18 different sports.
- The City launched a new branding research project to find Prince George’s voice that reflects the city’s culture and lifestyle. The project includes a survey and – later on – consultations with resident focus groups. Other goals involve growing local advocacy opportunities that encourage community optimism and progress and formulating a united vision for Prince George.
- The City announced the availability of voting by mail in the 2022 General Local Election. The election was the first one where vote-by-mail was open to all residents.
- The City received the Honourable Mention Award for its Stormwater Management Plan at the Union of BC Municipalities’ 2022 Community Excellence Awards. Submissions were judged on their long-term sustainability focus and how they incorporated cultural, social, economic, and environmental issues in planning, policy, and practice.
- Lheidli T’enneh First Nation presented the City of Prince George with a Territorial Acknowledgement Plaque. The plaque now occupies a prominent position in City Hall’s lobby. The inscription reads, “We respectfully acknowledge the unceded ancestral lands of the Lheidli T’enneh, on whose land we live, work, and play”.
- The City observed the death of Queen Elizabeth II on September 19 Day of Mourning. The City left a book of condolences for public messages of sympathy.
- “Pet Day” was announced by the City and BC SPCA at Ginter’s Meadow.
- The City announced the Four Seasons Leisure Pool’s demolition day of October 18. The Centennial Mosaic was also photographed for historical purposes and demolished at a later date.
- Fire Dispatchers officially moved to their permanent home in Fire Hall #1. The new Fire Operations Communications Centre and Dispatch houses up to 14 staff who ensure rapid, timely responses by Prince George’s Fire and Rescue service. The new centre also has a larger function that spans across British Columbia.
- Local officials and partners attended the Canfor Leisure Pool ribbon-cutting ceremony. The ceremony marked the completion of construction work on the building with finishing touches to landscaping scheduled to take place in spring. The pool opened to the public in mid-November.
- Council approved $475,000 for a new “Multisport Court” in partnership with the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charity. The Charity will build the court and contribute $950,000 in construction services, equipment, and materials. The future court will be located at Carrie Jane Gray Park across the street from Fire Hall #1 and feature a “three-court model multisport court” that can be configured to accommodate different sports and serve visitors of all ages and abilities.
- The City received a $624,980 Strengthening Communities’ Services Grant from the Province to implement a suite of initiatives to address the needs of the unsheltered homeless and associated community impacts.
- The “Pups of Prince George” charity calendar was announced for sale starting December 1 through a partnership between the City and the local SCPA. Winning photos were selected from more than 300 entries. The calendars retailed for $15 at select local pet store and at City Hall’s Service Centre.
- The Annual Civic Light Up returned to Prince George after a two-year absence. The popular local event featured live entertainment, crafts, street hockey with the Prince George Spruce Kings, and more.
- Modular units are placed at 6776 Dagg Road, the site of a new 60 space childcare site called Tsuhl’ Cho Daycare (Huckleberry Daycare), to be operated by the Prince George Native Friendship Centre.
- The City released an update on significant capital projects. The report includes status information on major, debt and endowment-funded initiatives and covers active works for over $98 million in capital projects.
- The City refreshed its website in early December. In addition to updating website software that was being phased out by Microsoft, the re-worked PrinceGeorge.ca incorporated updated accessibility elements to its design that adhere to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines standards.
- The City worked with Emergency Management BC and non-profit organizations to provide additional warming sites and services for the vulnerable during extreme cold weather.
The City wishes all citizens a Happy New Year and we look forward to continue serving the community in 2023.
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Mike Lee, senior communications advisor
City of Prince George