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Hall looks back at 2016 and forward to 2017

Mayor Lyn Hall has prepared a 2016 in review and a look forward to 2017, which is included in Monday’s night’s council agenda. You can read the report here:


BY LYN HALL

Prince George Mayor

For the last several years, planning at the City of Prince George has been based on an integrated community sustainability plan – known as myPG – that was completed in 2010 and incorporated into a strategic framework the following year.

The myPG plan for a sustainable and prosperous Prince George captures the results of extensive public and stakeholder engagement that created a vision of the longterm future of Prince George. It outlines what the City needs to do to achieve that vision and is organized around four sections: Social Development; Environment; Economic Development; and City Government.

This report provides highlights of the City’s 2016 achievements in each of the four sections and of the City’s significant 2017 priorities.

2016 HIGHLIGHTS

Social Development – In support of reconciliation initiatives and events, an application was submitted to the Canada 150 Infrastructure Program to fund a picnic shelter at Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park that would be used by families and would present the history of the Lheidli T’enneh in the area that is now Prince George.

– Work was done by a committee comprised of numerous community partners, towards establishing the City as a “backbone” organization to provide support to complex social initiatives.

– A “Smoke and Vape Free” bylaw was approved and will be effective May 2017. – Support was provided to major event bids such as Telus Cup 2017, Para Nordic International Championship 2019 and Summer Games 2020 or 2022. Prince George was awarded Telus Cup and Para Nordic International Championship 2019 and is awaiting the results of its Summer Games 2020 or 2022 bids.

– The skateboard park at Cpl. Darren Fitzpatrick Bravery Park in the Hart was opened. The project was 10 years in the making and was financially supported by the City, the Nechako Rotary Park, the Hart Community Association, and business and individual donors.

– A review of aquatic services was completed and an age inclusive strategy was developed. Environment

– Active modes of transportation and a connected network were supported by investing $250,000 on sidewalk rehabilitation and $250,000 on new sidewalks.

– A cycle route improvement project was implemented with 36 km of arterial roads receiving signage.

– The Courthouse and Plaza 400 were added to the Downtown Renewable Energy System. The number of public buildings on the system is now 11 and the expected greenhouse gas reduction is nearly 2,000 tonnes per year.

– A Park Strategy was completed following a significant public engagement process.

– The City’s Water Management Program began to be implemented. It includes a voluntary water meter program and the creation of redundancy between wells that provide critical service to large parts of Prince George.

Economic Development

– Remedial action and façade improvements continued to occur. In 2016, the façade grant amount was over $100,000 and 17 façade improvements were completed.

– Downtown civic facilities and spaces continued to be programmed. The City and Tourism Prince George contributed “Celebrate Prince George Program” funding for events, including Summerfest. “Foodie Fridays” took place at Veterans’ Plaza during the summer months.

– The Select Advisory Committee on Economic Development assisted with the creation of an economic development strategy for the City. A separate report and presentation on the strategy follows this report.

City Government

– Facility condition assessments were completed of major civic facilities to inform a comprehensive plan for infrastructure investment.

– Development of a re-designed City website continued. The re-design is intended to enhance access to open data, improve communication to citizens, provide enhanced opportunities for citizen feedback and self-serve options, and provide greater consistency in the presentation of Prince George.

– A “Standards of Cover” review of the fire department was completed to inform appropriate resourcing and re-investment in a new Fire Hall #1.

– Nearly 230 people attended the “Talktober” neighbourhood conversations which were held in five locations – College Heights, the Hart, Blackburn, downtown in the Wood Innovation and Design Centre, and at the College of New Caledonia. In response to requests during “Talktober” and through other avenues, in collaboration with BC Hydro, new lighting was installed on Tyner and Foothills Boulevards.

2017 HIGHLIGHTS

Many of the 2016 initiatives described above will carry on into 2017. e.g. The City will support the hosting of the 2017 Telus Cup, “Celebrate Prince George” Winter and Summer Festivals will be held, preparation will continue for the 2019 Para Nordic International Games, remedial action will continue and the re-designed website will be completed.

The Park and Economic Development Strategies, if approved, will be implemented.

In addition to these and many other program initiatives, during 2017, the City will focus on Infrastructure Investment. The Masich Place Stadium Project will be constructed. It will include a new synthetic turf infield, a consolidated jumps area, permanent throwing facilities and cages, and track resurfacing. The project has a budget of $4.225 million which is being funded by $3.2 million from the federal gas tax fund, $775,000 from the City, and $250,000 from NDIT.

As part of the aquatic services review, the Four Seasons Pool received a facility evaluation. At almost 50 years of age, the pool has reached its full life expectancy. While still structurally sound, it has numerous deficiencies including poor accessibility, inadequate change rooms, unsafe deck tiles, and a lack of modern amenities.

Fire Hall Number One is 60 years of age and according to the “Standards of Cover Review,” the hall is a concern in terms of its physical condition and configuration as well as its location. The City’s 2017 budget discussions will occur on January 30th and February 1st; discussion of capital projects, including Administration’s recommendations concerning the Four Seasons Pool and Fire Hall Number One, will take place during the February 1 meeting.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

During 2016, Council and Administration accomplished many of the priorities identified in the City’s 2016-2018 Corporate Plan. I look forward to 2017 being equally as positive and productive.

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