I’ve had a number of opportunities over the past few months to speak with developers and investors who are very interested in Quesnel as an investment opportunity, particularly for housing projects. Each time I speak with them about Quesnel’s comprehensive transition strategy and the kinds of investments we’re making in the community, they’re very impressed with the level of proactive thinking that’s gone into the City’s overall vision and the strategies and investments we’re making to realize our vision.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to maintain a high level of awareness of our overarching vision among local ratepayers. It’s easy for residents to just see all the disparate projects we have on the go as isolated investments without understanding that each one of them is derived from a comprehensive plan to modernize our community and make it a preferred place to visit and live and invest in.
The completion of the bike park behind the Arts and Recreation Centre is a case in point. The second phase of this project (funded by Federal Gas Tax dollars) will be completed this summer. Once completed, this new Bike Park will rival any similar venue in the Province, especially with the rubberized strider pump park, which is a very unique feature and one that will enable younger children to be safely introduced to this growing sport.
However, the Bike Park is only one part of our overall trails strategy; a strategy that envisions Quesnel surrounded by a wide variety of trail networks, many connected to our Riverfront Trail system. This year, work will be done (with a Federal grant) on the West Fraser Timber Park trail system to add that updated network to the already amazing trail networks at Wonderland and Dragon Mountain. Planning will also begin with Lhtako Dene for a trail network on their lands along the Fraser River.
Having modern trail networks is essential to attract and retain today’s workforce and to attract tourists. The ability to easily get out into nature whether on bike, on foot, on a horse, or on a trail bike or quad is a key deciding factor for more and more people as they make decisions about where they want to visit, to live and work, and where they want to invest.
Our riverfront strategy is another case in point. Once again, the City has a comprehensive, overarching strategy that was developed after significant community consultation. This year, the RV Park and Campground along the Quesnel River, a major set piece of our riverfront strategy, will be completed with Provincial, Federal, and Northern Development Trust grant funding. New interpretive and wayfinding signage will also be installed throughout the Riverfront Trail (with the help of another Northern Development Trust grant) and we’re working with Lhtako on the installation of some spectacular artwork that will help to recognize and restore Lhtako’s history and culture to the Quesnel and Fraser riverfronts.
Our Riverfront Trail has long been a hidden gem in our community; however, it has never been actively promoted in order to attract visitors to stop, walk, and shop here, nor has it been updated to fully realize the cultural and historical significance of the riverfronts in the heart of our community.
Each investment Council is making in our community, whether with your tax dollars or with grant funding, are all part of a plan to ensure that Quesnel continues to be a great place to live in and a community that attracts newcomers and new investment.