Tourism P.G. – Matter of Visitor Centre Relocation Raised Again
Prince George, B.C.- The hotel room tax is expected to bring in nearly a million dollars to Tourism Prince George this year, and that will go a long way to meeting their budget targets.
But while the income and expenditures for 2017 will see a 4% boost to operating costs, and a 4.4% increase in capital spending to upgrade the Visitor’s Centre, it was the matter of the location of the Visitors Centre that sparked more discussion.
The First Avenue location of the Visitor’s Centre is not ideal for some who come to the City, and it has long been known the Mayor, and some members of Council would like to see a Visitor’s Centre located in the area of the intersection of 16 and 97.
There had been a visitors centre there, but it was in need of significant upgrades and was sitting on leased land. Access to the Visitor’s Centre at that location was anything but ideal.
Tourism P.G. CEO Erica Hummell says while the Board for Tourism P.G. has discussed the idea of a better location for a Visitor’s Centre, there would need to be considerable consultation with visitors to gather their thoughts on possible alternate locations. Mayor Lyn Hall has often said he would like to see the centre moved to a higher profile location.
But there has never been any sort of formal analysis on the idea of moving the Centre to the Highway 16/97 location.
“It certainly is , in my estimation , a prime location for a tourist information site” said Mayor Hall, but adds “I suspect there is a healthy dollar involved.”
Councillor Albert Koehler says it would be worthwhile to explore the issue “Because up until now, we haven’t done anything.”
Manager of Development and Planning, Ian Wells says his department will “explore opportunities as they become available in that area.”
Administration will have a conversation with Tourism Prince George to see if there is any desire to further explore the idea.
It should be one or two people keeping a tourism pg website running.. it’s all online these days…let’s keep up with the times.
I agree. This should be a very small organization, and mostly web based. The fact it has a CEO smacks of an over inflated sense of self importance. PG is not a tourist destination nor will it ever will be. We’re a gas stop on the way to Alaska.
Personally it is in the dumbest spot imaginable, where it should have remained is on the 16 and 97 intersection. Why they would put it off 1st avenue with the railway depot is beyond me. Look at Williams Lake for example, a smaller city with a torurist info building that puts a bigger city such as ours to shame. If tourism is so important let’s take some strides to visually show it! Embarrassing right now!
well said Lien. I absolutely agree with every point you make
I agree, William’s Lake has a fabulous tourist info building! We went in it for the first time just last year and we were all blown away by how well done it was. We spent about an hour with the person working there discussing its cost, benefits, etc… It isn’t a money maker, but it certainly is well used by people passing through. It also has a coffee/snack bar, as well as an area where local artists can sell their things, and it is fun for the kids to see.
I don’t think people should always be considering things based on whether they make money or not, otherwise we wouldn’t have places like swimming pools, libraries, etc… Certainly people aren’t coming from all over the world to see Prince George, but they aren’t coming from all over to see William’s Lake either. Yet putting in such a beautiful visitor’s centre is fantastic and they have leaflets showing all of the sights within William’s Lake and beyond.
How many people go on a road trip and stop at various points on the way to their destination to see something of interest? Have a good info centre and at least people will see what kind of restaurants or whatever PG has to offer. Funnily enough, every time we go to Vancouver we now stop at William’s Lake and have a snack and coffee at the tourist info building instead of at the local T.H., just because it is more fun for the kids to visit there.
After I saw William’s Lake’s building, I was thinking how wonderful it would be to have a building like that at the main intersection, right at the crossroads of our city that is sometimes called the capital of the north.
The tourest center in Hazelton also has an integrated museum a very nice set up. For a small town it sure puts PG’s effort to shame. Also easy parking for whatever rig one is driving.
I have slept in the Williams Lake Tourism parking lot before when too tired to drive on, but to cheep to spend money on a hotel room for a few hours. Its just a great safe place to park for the night, with garbage bins and a bathroom in the morning. They don’t mind at all, and even encouraged it with signage saying its okay.
I agree great building, great location, but maybe the gold plated option for most cities.
The city in the past has not been very intelligent with their decisions concerning a tourism building as in the past they listened to consultants and have made desicion based on the fact many councillors were business owners and were not looking out for the best interests of PG but themselves.
Many people in the city questioned why the visitor centre at 16 and 97 was not maintained and instead was moved to 1st avenue and it had everything to do with politics and nothing to do with bettering the city of Prince George.
When it comes to tourism the city has a bad track record of promoting the city and having a visible tourism kiosk in a well trafficked area. Hopefully Mayor Hall and council think smart for a change instead of councillors pocket books
Just move the sucker, present location is crazy
For a place like William’s Lake, location for a tourism centre is easy;
Virtually all rubber tire traffic is North-South, so anywhere that allows access from both sides of the highway is suitable.
For P.G. it is not so simple, assuming west/north bound tourist traffic enters the city via 1st avenue.
Having said that, obviously a location at the 97-16 junction will offer best access to most through traffic.
Without some sort of under/overpass set up though, tourists travelling in at least one direction are going to have some level of difficulty in driving up to the visitor’s centre.
So how important is a physical site?
How many people would see that as imperative, versus those who would access information via a wireless device?
Those are the questions that should be addressed.
How many travellers are older people who would rather stop off at a travel Center than do wireless? To me that is ridculous, you are tourists, you are travelling, you want brochures and want to relate with real live people fro PG. I ride a motorcycle and tour, nothing like stopping at a travel Center and talking to people and gaining experiences. This is the way it ought to be and what it is all about!
I think the physical site of any tourism center is very important. It says a lot about a community to any potential visitor.
I agree 16 and 97 is a high visibility spot, but you are correct to question the certainty of its development as it relates to future upgrades that will need to take place on the corner for the highway infrastructure that could impact the practicability of getting large RV in there and the ease of access.
I think that intersection will be over-underpass upgraded in the next few decades if not sooner and that will have huge impacts on what ever does get developed on those corners.
Corner of 16/97 would be ideal… Catching traffic coming from the East, North, and south. Put it where Mr PG stands now. Maybe the City can purchase that corner and help keep the Dome open at same time.. They could share that corner
I disagree and don’t think the corner of highway 97 and 16 is ideal. I think the access would be limited no matter how visible it is from the corner.
Seems to me that the Tourism site moved from 97 and 16 because the owners of the property were not going to renew the lease.
They were eventually moved into the CN building on 1st Ave. This building was purchased by Initiative Prince George and they probably needed the tourism centre to be there to justify buying the building.
Moving back to 16/97 would mean purchasing some more property. The City already has to much property however it never seems to be in the right place at the right time.
The other issue of course is what do you do with the 1st Avenue building.??. I doubt that there would be a line up to purchase that building, and we would end up filling it with a different group of City workers, or try and lease out some space.
Buy out the rollerdome and build it there.
That building on 1st is already occupied by a bunch of City staffers.
Now you’re talking, I agree with that 110%! Eyesore to the extreme!
Fully agree! That corner is the perfect location and the ugly barn will finally be torn down.
Bad idea. We shouldn’t build anything on that corner until after an over under pass goes through. The corner is at its peak capacity now especially with the left turn lane heading north. Any growth over the next few decades will require an over under pass and if we have it all built up on that corner than the cost will be almost prohibitive.
I think its a matter of prioritizing the development so as to not under cut future growth.
Convert the 1st Ave building into lo cost housing
There’s plenty of room by the Dome… No need to tear it down… Just needs a facelift. Serves many functions in town
I agree that the present tourist information site does not meet the needs of all the travellers, but at least there is ample parking there for the RVs. Having four highways going through our City makes it almost impossible to have a one-stop tourism site, and while the 16 – 97 intersection has the most traffic, it sure wouldn’t be user friendly. IMHO, we would be better off with four bare-bones ones, with ample parking, on the outskirts of town, with a rest area or possibly an RV site on it or nearby.
To put a tourist building in the vicinity of Mr PG could work. The access could be the same route as one takes to get to the curling club and Roll-a-dome.
I hope that they never get rid of the Roll-a-Dome! There aren’t a lot of places to go to for kids birthday parties that are as much fun as there. The man who runs it works hard to make sure everyone has a good time.
No one from out of town (aka tourists) will be able to find the access road.
IMO and I have posted this in the past. The absolute best location for a tourism center in PG is at the meeting of Ferry and Queensway along the Fraser River just Northwest of the Fraser Bridge overpass.
The land along the river there is vacant and has about four acres of river front that is highly visible to highway 97 traffic especially from the south crossing the bridge. It is also located on the highway 16 dangerous goods route through the city, which most tourists take to the Ferry and 16 intersection.
I would think build it old Barkerville style (reminiscent of the old Fort George trading post) with a ice cream outfit for the locals and a viewing deck of the river that has stairs one could take down to a dock at the river that could be used as a pick up and drop off location for river boat tours right from the Tourism info center.
Time Will Tell
Opps just Northeast of the Fraser River Bridge overpass. The land has been for sale for like a decade now as a private sale.
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