Construction has begun on the City of Prince George’s $4.4 million Masich Place redevelopment project, which will install the first outdoor synthetic field in northern B.C.
The project will include a new synthetic turf infield meeting FIFA, CFL, and World Rugby regulations – a first for northern B.C. It also includes consolidated jumps area, permanent throwing facilities and cages, track resurfacing, and upgrades such as trail development.
“These fantastic new upgrades to Masich Place allow Prince George to give sporting groups a dependable home, and allow more teams to use the field and other parts of the facility for more of the year,” said Mayor Lyn Hall in a press release. “This is an investment in the athletes and in the health of our community. This project also vastly improves Prince George’s capacity for regional, provincial, and national participation, year-round sport tourism, the venues we offer our local sports teams, and the variety of sports and recreational opportunities we offer residents.”
Masich Place has been closed to the public since May 19. Track and field user groups, including those who enjoy walking the track, have been notified and provided with alternative options for the duration of the closure. Masich Place will reopen to the public in the spring of 2018 as one overall complex encompassing both the stadium and PGSS fields along Massey Drive.
Funding for the project is provided via a $3.2 million investment from the federal Gas Tax Fund, $925,000 from the City of Prince George’s 2017 Capital Expenditure Program, and $250,000 from Northern Development Initiative Trust’s Economic Diversification Infrastructure Program.
The new field will provide many tangible benefits for Prince George and the surrounding region:
- Earlier and later season play when natural turf fields are unavailable or damaged
- Increased sports tourism with potential for regional, provincial, and national competitions
- Reduced travel costs and travel time for local and regional sports teams
- Increased field capacity and revenues associated with over four times the usability of natural turf
- Regular season play and sport development for groups such as UNBC Soccer, Minor Football, Rugby, and Lacrosse who are currently without an outdoor field agreement
- Exterior painting of the grandstand structure
“Facilities like Masich Place animate communities and promote active living,” said Union of BC Municipalities president and Prince George councillor Murry Krause. “I am pleased to see the Government of Canada supporting the renewal of recreational infrastructure through the Federal Gas Tax Fund.”
Last week, an open house was held on-site for residents and user groups to learn more about the project. City staff members were on-hand to speak directly with attendees about the multiple benefits of the improved facility.
“The improvements to Masich Place will not only ensure that the well-used sport facility will be able to provide enhanced recreational opportunities for locals, but they will also help Prince George develop its sport tourism industry,” said Evan Saugstad, board chair, Northern Development Initiative Trust. “Having great infrastructure is critical to attracting and hosting large sporting events that bring visitors to the region who in turn stay at our hotels, explore our shops and dine at our restaurants. Northern Development is pleased to be supporting this project.”
Masich Place Stadium was established by the City of Prince George as a premier track and field venue to host the 1990 BC Summer Games and serves both Prince George and the surrounding region.
The Union of BC Municipalities administers the federal Gas Tax Fund in British Columbia in partnership with the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia.