Civic centre drives millions in economic activity, report shows

The Prince George Conference and Civic Centre drew more than $6.9 million of outside money to the local economy between June 2016 and June 2017, according to a report presented to city council on Monday.

City events and civic centre manager Myles Tycholis and economic development manager Melissa Barcellos presented the report, which was based on the analysis of survey information from 507 out-of-town delegates and exhibitors attending 15 events at the civic centre during the year.

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"We utilized our event service staff to administer the survey," Tycholis said. "(Civic centre) staff have been working on a tracking system for non-local visitors."

From June 2016 to June 2017, the civic centre hosted 101 events which drew non-local visitors, including 8,246 attendees and 739 exhibitor staff members representing 375 non-local companies.

In addition, the report estimated those attending events at the civic centre brought approximately 5,100 additional visitors (spouses, family members, etc.) with them, although 67 per cent of attendees and 88 per cent of exhibitors travelled alone.

Event attendees spent an average of 2.3 days in the city, while exhibitors spent an average of 3.1 days.

"We continue to work closely with our partners... to attract multi-day events," Tycholis said. "(But) we are limited in our capacity."

The civic centre does work with local hotels to coordinate conference and meeting space for larger events, he added, but "a lot of the large events prefer to host their event in one venue."

Prince George's draw is primarily regional, with 93 per cent of delegates and 76 per cent of exhibitors coming from B.C. Less than one per cent of event delegates and three per cent of exhibitors came from outside Canada.

The report estimated that an average non-local event delegate spent $673 in the city, with accommodation, food and drinks, and shopping making up the bulk of the spending.

The average exhibitor spent $1,784 in the city, with accommodation, food and drinks, production costs and shopping representing the largest amounts.

Barcellos said the economic activity generated by the civic centre is estimated to support 84 jobs in the city, including 67 direct jobs and 16 indirect and induced jobs. Those jobs are estimated to create $3.3 million in household income for employees.

In 2019, the civic centre will be 25 years old, Tycholis said, and staff are working on a business case for renovation and/or expansion of the facility.

"I really look forward to seeing a business case for your master building renovation plan," Coun. Murry Krause said. "Any building will show its wear and tear over time."

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