Prince George Mayor and Council were able to review some city highlights from 2019 at tonight’s (Monday) meeting.
Meant to give an overview on the state of the city, the report includes 2020 objectives, audited financial statements, tax exemptions and details on services and operations.
In his opening statement, Mayor Lyn Hall said 2019 was a ‘special’ year for the city, and until COVID-19 hit, 2020 was on track to be ‘even better.’
“For example, even after a record-setting year, building permits in the first few months of 2020 were, incredibly, up over 2019,” said Hall in the report.
“2020 was also going to be about big, record-setting events for venues such as CN Centre and the Prince George Conference and Civic Centre. Or so we thought.”
The pandemic caused Council to make several changes to deal with the deficit the city incurred as a result of COVID-19 said City Manager Kathleen Soltis in her opening statement.
“With huge revenue losses that challenge our ability to keep delivering services, having a sound asset management program in place is allowing us to recalculate our priorities under new fiscal realities,” she wrote.
“This allowed us, for example, to defer nearly $25 million in capital projects this year, while still allowing us to continue working on $98 million in projects.”
2019 saw Prince George set the record for both the number and value of building permits, and the city also hosted its first world championships, in para nordic skiing.
Last year also saw the addition of the Nechako Riverside Park and Wood Innovation Square, climate action plan updates, wildfire preparedness and working to become ‘bear smart.’
City staff also worked on improving the Emergency Strategic Plan and created the Select Committee on a Safe, Clean and Inclusive Committee amoung multiple other achievements.
The report also lists priorities for 2020 for Council to focus on.
This includes supporting initiatives that facilitate healthy and active living, collaborating with local organizations and partners to enhance quality of life, cultural vitality, local heritage,
and inter-cultural understanding and making the city more accessable for seniors and people with disabilities.