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October 27, 2017 7:47 pm

2016 a Banner Year for Prince George

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 @ 6:00 AM

Prince George, B.C.-  With  building permit values  reaching  levels not seen  in a decade,   2016 has been a very  positive one for Prince George and Mayor Hall is optimistic next year will also be a positive one.

In speaking to the Prince George Chamber of Commerce,  Mayor Lyn Hall  noted there have been a number of positives  including  nearly $125 million in building permit values, 75%-85%  of  which  is private  investment.  That  amount of  permit values hasn’t been reached since 2007.

But there is more to be done.

While Mayor Hall  applauds the level of façade improvements ( 17  façade  improvements this year alone) and business development in the downtown, he   says the next step will be to secure student housing  and  subsidized  housing in the downtown. “Certainly  the biggest priority ( for downtown) is around student housing ,   I want to be able to enter into  a  real partnership with CNC and UNBC  to provide student housing downtown.”

Student housing is a key to   creating a vibrant core says the Mayor “I don’t think it’s any secret that if you want to   have a really viable downtown, and I think we are seeing really great investment  by  folks,  we need to try to attract residents to the  downtown core.  In order for us to  do that,  we see student housing as being an integral part  of that,  and we’re working diligently with a developer and an investor, who is very interested in doing  that.   We’re also not shying away  from  looking for developers and  investors  to look at providing market housing.  There  are two prime  locations from our perspective,  and that’s 6th and Quebec, and  7th and Victoria.  Both of those locations  to us, are absolutely prime for the development of market housing.”

He says if  the City can “turn the corner” on those particular areas of investment ” We will see a revitalized downtown.  That’s not so say there isn’t work to do,   there is.  We ( the City) own property downtown  we need to work on.  We need to have   a commitment to do things in the downtown core to  try to provide the enthusiasm  for folks  who want to invest.”

He says there will be a focus in the new year on  attracting new business and growing the population.

And while celebrating all that  has  been accomplished in  2016,  Mayor Hall is optimistic about the year ahead “2017 is  really shaping up to be a very good year for us”  says Mayor  Hall  “Even now, in early  December, there are signs that 2017 will be a very   good year, and we’ve set the bar pretty high,   and  we’ll see how we do.




I couldn’t agree more. THANK YOU Mr. Mayor for making things happen. I too agree that downtown is starting to look better. I can’t believe how good the Photofax building looks. It looked like an eyesore. In as little as 3 months it’s one of the gems of downtown. Absolutely amazing. Now we just need to keep the momentum going.

Grow the population. Excellent idea. A growing population helps to pay for a variety of things our citizens need and want. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we need to grow to a million people. But slowly increasing to 100,000 would be a very good place to be. Go PG Go!!!!!

I think it is absolutely pathetic that we would pin the hopes of downtown revitalization on student housing in the downtown. It is not the appropriate place for that. Who would send their kid to go to school in PG knowing they would be housed in downtown PG for political purposes?

The kids need to be in already highly residential areas where the services are and close to the schools where they can walk to school. What would SFU be if they tried to put all the housing in downtown Burnaby, or same for any other successful university for that matter?

We do the students a disservice locating student housing in the decrepit and unsafe downtown so far from the actual institutions and we hamstrung and retard the growth of the whole city with this madness.

Student housing IMO should be located along Ospika in the light industrial area from Massey to 15th or up on the hill right next to the university. Otherwise it’s just politicized priorities to subsidize the hopes for downtown landowners at the expense of a well rounded future for the rest of the city.

I strongly oppose forcing student housing in the downtown core.

    I am sure my “kids” who are in university would certainly want a say in where they choose to live…they are independent ADULTS who want to live where their friends are, where they can have fun off campus without having to make the long trek back, and not to be stuck on campus or in family areas in basement suites. Other communities have downtown campuses and residences and that in itself adds an incredible young vibrancy to the area.

      “Other communities have downtown campuses and residences.”

      Name one which is in a city which was incorporate in the 20th century and has a university with the main campus downtown.

      Even Vancouver does not have that.

      Kingston Ontario has Queens which is downtown. It was founded in 1841, 3 years after Kingston was incorporated as a town and 5 years before it was incorporated as a City.

      If we had a university that was incorporated 3 years after Prince George was incorporated, it too would be downtown. One cannot undo history.

      Other cities have campuses of sorts downtown. Those “campuses” were built primarily to serve workers in the downtown who could take one or two classes during, before or after work.

      Vancouver does not even have a university with a main campus downtown. Downtown main campus Universities are typically found in older cities in central and eastern Canada.

      This City has had downtown student residences imprinted on their brains as the saviour of downtown. It makes no sense.

      We are “surrounded” by university students sharing accommodations in rented or owned houses in the west end of the bowl. One down the street has 6 or 7 cars parked on the driveway, lawn and street. They do not even take the bus.

      And if your adult children want to rent in downtown PG than why aren’t they already? Nothing is stopping them now from doing that. Not my post on how PG should be developed anyways. Just because I say it’s a dumb idea and I would never want that for myself or my kids doesn’t mean you don’t have choice.

    Thank you for speaking on behalf of me an my fellow students. I’m certainly happy you are looking out for us and choosing our living arrangements *rolls eyes.

      I am not choosing your living arrangements. Did you say you were a university student or still in grade school? Grow up and choose your own living arrangements, and maybe advocate where you think it should be if you want while you’re at it. Playing victim won’t get you far in life.

    Eagleone you have no idea. University students in the downtown would be a boon for downtown. This would revitalize the downtown like never before. The university should have never been built where it is. They should have looked to downtown area originally. what a city we would have if we could have built it downtown

      So you are one that thinks the purpose of a university is to revitalize a decrepit downtown and have proximity to a party scene and vices for young adults living away from home for the first time… Rather than a place to study and get and education. Got it.

      I see a downtown that will never have the potential the rest of the city has and it only holds the rest of the city back thinking that way. Downtown PG will never be an urban city scape more than it is today. It is located less than a kilometre from three refineries and three of the worlds largest pulp mills and no one will buy property to live next to that in an area that is flood plain so will never have underground parking to allow for any greater population density than it has today.

      Expanding our horizons as to where we can have built up urban populations is the smarter move here. PG has lots to offer its just not in our downtown, and the sooner city hall comes to grip with that the sooner PG can start to develop again.

    How about University of Saskatchewan, about as close to downtown without being downtown. Just have to cross a river.

The city is trying to think of ways to use some of the empty office buildings downtown. Why are they empty ? Well the city has allowed doctors and lawyers to buy up corner lots and make the houses into offices. Hence the empty offices. I think the city blundered on this one.
Now all we have left is maybe student housing downtown. Hey it might work.

“In speaking to the Prince George Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Lyn Hall noted there have been a number of positives including “nearly” $125 million in building permit values, 75%-85% of which is private investment. That amount of permit values hasn’t been reached since 2007.”

Except in 2014 total building permit value was OVER $125 million ($125.7 million to be exact), so I don’t know why it is stated “that amount hasn’t been reached since 2007.” Unless we are talking about the 75% – 85% of which was private investment?

As for the comments about downtown being used for student housing, I say go for it. There are many young entrepreneurs investing their money into “unique” downtown businesses that are targeting the younger crowd. Most have read about how popular the Black Donkey has become, particularly with the “Pokemon Go” crowd. Give these young people the downtown and watch the craft beer stores, pubs and restaurants thrive! Watch it become a neighbourhood.

    Is Pokémon still alive and well??

      Pokemon died. It is vying for the title of “shortest lived fad”.


gopg2015 “Name one which is in a city which was incorporate in the 20th century and has a university with the main campus downtown”

Grant McEwan in Edmonton.

    That was pretty much an industrial area when the Community College was opened in the early 70’s. I would classify that as the edge of downtown back when I lived in Edmonton and that was in the 80’s.

      It is right next door to the new “downtown” arena.

I remember my student days and I lived in residence, then in apts that were as close to the Faculty as possible. The proximity to schooling every weekday for 7 years was far more important than restaurants and entertainment, which were luxuries. I agree that the closer to CNC or UNBC the better.

No student would choose to live in a residence a 30 minute public transit commute away from campus to be closer to restaurants and night clubs. Why would they want that? You could be tied to a transit schedule, stuck on campus all day and then sitting on a bus for a 30 minute ride downtown or you could walk over to current residences on own schedule, or between classes, or to get a bite to eat? Which would you choose?


    You obviously haven’t lived in UNBC residences. It’s an isolated location with very limited services (grocery stores, shopping, entertainment, pubs, skating rinks, pools, etc.) And if you’re in a UNBC dorm, you have 3 roommates and no say over who they are. It makes much more sense to live in town, have some degree of control over where you live, who you live with, and commute to school. Transit isn’t ideal but a 20-30 minute bus commute is nothing for most people, especially students who can use the time to relax, study, socialize, etc.

      Good points! Obviously an opinion poll of students as to what they would prefer would throw more light on the issue! There is likely going to be a large percentage who would rather live downtown and commute daily than live up at UNBC and commute for some entertaintent.

I think Ospika should be the street with student residences on it for many reasons.

#1 proximity to both CNC and UNBC.

#2 most of the prime light industrial land bordering Ospika is owned by the province.
The corner of 15th and Ospika could be high rise residential. 18th and Ospika is now vacant I think, use to be parks, could be new student residence or social housing lands. 22nd and Ospika is currently used by the provincial fire service and is prime land for student residences or urban development. The ministry of forest and lands office would make a good residence for the trades students nearby and the ministry jobs could relocate downtown.

#3 proximity to sporting venues like the kin centre, ice over, and aquatic centre.

#4 proximity to entertainment like concerts at CN Center, hockey games, Pine Center, pubs… All within walking distance.

#5 central location to everything in PG including bus routes… Rather than out of the way downtown.

#6 almost non existent crime rates.

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