Prince George has become a hub of activity for developing athletes, officials, and for recreational sporting enthusiasts with the new Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre that was opened in September 2007. Communities from across central and northern British Columbia supported development of the Northern Sport Centre in Prince George through Cross Regional Account funding from Northern Development in 2006. The facility is focused on meeting the vision of the communities to create new sporting and sport event opportunities in the region while enhancing the recruitment and retention of students, coaches, and other professionals to central and northern British Columbia.
The Northern Sport Centre facilities include three basketball courts, two indoor fields, an elevated indoor track, two squash courts, fitness rooms and equipment, food service area, public change rooms and washrooms, storage areas, and a multi-purpose meeting room. The facilities also include pull out bleachers to seat 2,000 spectators for sporting events. The Northern Sport Centre is continuing to create opportunities for central and northern BC to host national level tournaments and events. The announcement that Prince George will host the 2015 Canada Winter Games was noted as directly linked to the region hosting this world-class sporting infrastructure.
The Northern Sport Centre is used extensively by residents of the community and students at UNBC. Indoor soccer leagues have flourished in winter months because teams can play on indoor fields while snow covers the ground outside. Students take full advantage of the Northern Sport Centre with a gym pass included in their fees and intramural sports offered to them through the academic year.
"I've recently come from a community similar to Prince George where the addition of a world class facility has added so much value to the community. The Northern Sport Centre has the same potential and I truly believe that so far, we have only scratched the surface of what can be accomplished. Currently we provide full and part time employment while hosting a variety of events that realize positive economic gains for local businesses within Prince George. I am very excited to be part of the future development of this spectacular facility."
Aaron LeBlanc, Manager, Northern Sport Center, University of Northern British Columbia
Positive Economic Impacts in Prince George
The Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre at the University of Northern British Columbia is another strategic asset that has been created by the communities of central and northern British Columbia in an effort to invest in infrastructure that diversifies the regional economy.
Since its opening in 2007, the Northern Sport Centre has been the venue for many major events including the 2008 Provincial BCCAA Women's Basketball Championships and the Western Canada Gymnastics Competition. In 2009, the facility hosted the Senior Girls Regional Basketball Championships and the prestigious Men's National CCAA Basketball Championships. These events are vital to the local economy as they attract hundreds of out of town visitors who stay and have a positive impact on the local businesses in the city of Prince George. In many cases, the teams attending these events travel through the region on their way to the Northern Sport Centre, providing exposure and economic spin-offs in communities along Highways 16 and 97.
Every spring the Northern Sport Centre gymnasium is transformed to host the University of Northern British Columbia convocation ceremonies where students receive their degrees in front of thousands of spectators. Likewise, convocation has an important economic impact with friends and family often traveling to Prince George from elsewhere to celebrate with their loved ones.
The Northern Sport Centre employs seven full-time staff and has dozens of part-time positions, many of which are made available to students each year.
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