City sports facilities need upgrades to host B.C. Games, council hears

Several sports facilities in the city will need to be upgraded before Prince George is ready to host the 2022 B.C. Summer Games, according to a report presented to city council on Monday.

On March 10, 2017 the province and B.C. Games Society announced Prince George will host the 2022 games, which are expected to draw approximately 3,700 young athletes, coaches and officials. The city hired consulting firm Allan Leadership to conduct an assessment of the city's sporting facilities and provide recommendations on any needed improvements, city director of community services and public safety Adam Davey said.

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"These upgrades will provide long-term benefits to user groups in the city," Davey said.

While the exact list of sports that will part of the 2022 games will not be decided until December, Davey said, there is a list of "core sports" that are nearly always included.

One of the biggest gaps identified by Allan Leadership in its report was the lack of a competitive beach volleyball facility.

On Jan. 6, city council approved the construction of new outdoor volleyball courts at Carrie Jane Gray Park as part of the 2020 capital expenditure program. A budget of $250,000 was approved for the two-to-four court facility.

For riding events, the footing – riding surface material – for the Agriplex and outdoor riding arena would need to be improved, and the outdoor riding arena would need to be enlarged.

"This expansion can occur in the existing Exhibition Park footprint with minimal overall changes," the report to city council says.

The towed water sports ramp at Nukko Lake would need to be refurbished.

Coun. Kyle Sampson said the city should seek a partnership with the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George to cover the costs of the ramp refurbishment.

"It's in their neck of the woods, and they should pay," Sampson said.

Davies said there currently is no partnership in place, but the project mostly involves inexpensive basic maintenance like painting.

The city's baseball and softball facilities at Carrie Jane Gray Park and Freeman Park would need upgrades including shale, grass, fencing, backstops and painting.

"Just to be clear, the gap analysis has identified stuff separate than what is being done for the (2020 Canadian Native Fastball Championships)," Mayor Lyn Hall said.

City staff will determine the cost of the upgrades to the Agriplex, outdoor riding arena, Nukko Lake ramp and baseball diamonds, and will present them to city council as part of the 2021 capital expenditure plan, the report said.

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