The Quesnel Hosting Precinct is a purpose-built area in Quesnel’s downtown that brings together new and existing adjacent facilities to create a unique space that is modern, welcoming, and capable of hosting a variety of events in all seasons. In 2018, Northern Development approved a $574,191 grant through the Strategic Initiatives Fund to support the development of this space connecting the West Fraser Centre, curling arena, secondary arena, ice plant building and plaza.
The $722,031 project saw the development of an area that strongly positions Quesnel as a competitor in sport and event hosting while supporting the City of Quesnel’s goals of diversifying its economy. The project included a variety of interior and exterior upgrades, including the painting of two murals, extensive signage, new landscaping, increase power supply, façade improvements and the construction of a gazebo.
“The vision for this project is a unique precinct that will have hosting capabilities like few other communities in Northern B.C.,” said Bob Simpson, mayor of City of Quesnel. “Through this project, council has established a goal to redefine the community as a modern, attractive and welcoming city.”
The precinct has already seen huge success for Quesnel. While the finishing touches were being completed on the development project, the community successfully hosted the 2019 BC Men’s and Women’s Curling Championships. This week-long event was held in the two-year-old West Fraser Centre and sold 713 full event passes, 52 weekend passes and 1,099 single passes. Hosting the championships was a big win for the community and reaffirmed that Quesnel can attract provincial sporting competitions and generate positive economic impacts from sport and event tourism.
The West Fraser Centre is an $18.4 million building that was completed in 2017 and became the cornerstone of the Quesnel Hosting Precinct. The multi-use, energy efficient facility is 60,000 square-feet with seating for 1,300 people around the NHL-sized ice. Northern Development invested $2,000,000 into the construction of the centre through its Economic Diversification Infrastructure funding program.
“The West Fraser Centre has been an outstanding addition to Quesnel’s downtown,” said Mayor Simpson. “It is an appealing facility for our community to host an array of events – from graduations to tradeshows and tournaments to concerts, it brings Quesnel residents together to celebrate achievements and to appreciate the talent of visiting athletes and performers. Additionally, larger events bring more people to Quesnel, providing positive economic benefits for our accommodations, food providers and other businesses.”
Since the completion of the West Fraser Centre in 2017, Northern Development has invested more than $2.6 million into construction and upgrades in the Quesnel Hosting Precinct. Additional funding totaling $45,000 was for two separate projects in the West Fraser Centre: $30,000 for air conditioning to make the venue more comfortable during warmer months and to improve air quality in the facility and $15,000 for the replacement of guardrails. Funding for these two projects was through the Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program – a funding program that retired in September 2020. Now, these projects would be eligible for funding through the new Recreation Infrastructure funding program.