So Happy to See You!

March 15, 2022
Council Column

It’s so nice to see people’s faces again! The end of the mask mandate surely signals we’re on our way back to more normal human interactions and activities. The end of the vaccine passport system in April will open up even more opportunities for community activities and events to be held once again, including Billy Barker Days!

It’s so strange to think that there are many people who have recently moved to Quesnel who have not yet experienced Billy Barker Days. First due to wildfires and/or smoke, and then due to the pandemic. So, it’s exciting to think about enjoying a more normal spring, summer, and fall in our great, and growing, community and enabling our new residents to see what Quesnel is really like in a summer without any emergency restrictions (fingers crossed!).

I was honored to be asked to speak at the recent Chamber of Commerce hosted business networking dinner a few weekends ago; the first ‘full occupancy’ event I’ve attended since the pandemic restrictions were put in place. The room was full of young entrepreneurs, the majority of them women, a number of whom have recently moved to Quesnel and established a new business.

On behalf of Quesnel City Council, I was able to thank these business people for their continued commitment to and investment in our community’s economy. It’s both an exciting time and a challenging time to be doing business here. Exciting because the community is entering a very significant growth phase and challenging because of the significant supply chain issues and labour shortages our business and industrial sectors are being confronted with.

There’s little Council can do to address the global supply chain issues other than being patient and making the necessary adjustments to our expectations of what materials and goods are available, when, and at what price. As a community, we all need to exercise this level of self-management and continue to work with our local business so we can still shop locally and support local jobs and businesses.

However, Council is making a significant adjustment to the City’s economic transition strategy in an effort to assist employers in all sectors of our community to attract and retain workers. Rather than continuing to focus our successful community-marketing strategy on resident and visitor attraction, we will be re-focusing this program toward workforce attraction. This will be done in partnership with our community’s major employers and every effort will be made to position Quesnel as a community of choice for professionals, tradespeople, and workers across all sectors. 

The current labour shortage we’re experiencing will only be amplified by the economic growth Quesnel is about to experience. Osisko’s Barkerville Gold project alone will dramatically increase Quesnel’s employment base, both through the hundreds of direct jobs the mine will create and the secondary industries and businesses it will support. In addition, Council has been working behind the scenes with other investors (both public and private) to see more investments made in our community that will create even more jobs and more business opportunities.

It’s an exciting time to be living in Quesnel and the easing of the pandemic restrictions will finally enable us to celebrate and promote all that our community has to offer visitors, residents, and investors.

I hope we will also respect the needs of individuals who will continue to wear masks and maintain social distancing in order to protect their health and that of their loved ones. That is their right and we need to respect that with grace and understanding.

Mayor Bob Simpson

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