Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

City to spend $150K on new sign for CN Centre

CN Centre's digital sign has been broken since 2019, city staff said
CN Centre sign
On Monday, city council approved spending $150,000 to replace the digital sign at CN Centre. The sign has been broken since 2019.

City council has approved spending $150,000 to replace CN Centre’s digital sign along Ospika Boulevard.

The digital sign was installed in 2004 and worked 24-hours per day until the fall of 2019, when it failed, city director of public safety Adam Davey said. CN Centre was closed in March 2020, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which postponed the need to replace the sign, Davey said.

“This sign has been broken for approaching two years now,” he said. “Administration recommends updating the sign, so it is functional again.”

The city is obligated to provide the digital sign as part of its contract with the Prince George Cougars, he added.

City manager of entertainment Glen Mikkelsen said the sign will support the return of sports and entertainment events. 

“Sports and entertainment are working to come back, some cautiously and some more assertively,” he said.

In addition to the Cougars hockey games, CN Centre is expected to host the 2022 World Women’s Curling Championship in March.

“We are very optimistic this event will be taking place,” Mikkelsen said. “Some of the curlers we’ll see in Beijing (for the 2022 Winter Olympics) will be here.”

The Offspring and Simple Plan will be holding a concert at CN Centre in February and Northern FanCon is planned for 2022 as well, Mikkelsen said.

Mikkelsen said he expects to see more event announcements coming over the coming months.

Over its 15-year working life, the previous digital sign displayed approximately 47.3 million messages. The cost of the sign in 2004 was $192,425, giving a cost per message of less than half a cent, Davey wrote is his report to city council.

“Less than half a cent for a view is good value,” Coun. Cori Ramsay said.

Ramsay said she deals with promotions and advertising as part of her career, and even online advertising through social media could cost double that amount per view. Also, the digital sign lasted longer than most other electronics would, she added.

“This is basically an 18-year-old television,” Ramsay said. “I don’t know anyone with a TV that old.”

Coun. Brian Skakun suggested the city could look at selling advertising on the sign to help offset the cost.

“If we spend money on this, can we look at generating some revenue?” he asked.

Mikkelsen said previously some community groups hosting events at Exhibition Park were allowed to promote their events using the sign and were billed for the service.

Funding for the sign will come from the city's Northern Capital Planning Reserve Fund.