I want to assure residents of Quesnel that moving the Gold Pan from its current location, at the very north of the City’s boundaries, to the downtown area is not a “priority” for Council, it’s simply a minor step in Council’s comprehensive transition plan for our community.
Some of Council’s current priorities include: trying to save the 140 plus jobs that could be lost if C&C Wood Products is permanently closed; undertaking the remediation work needed after the Baker Creek flood; helping our community mitigate the social and economic impacts of the current public health crisis; addressing the serious public safety issues in our community; taking action on our comprehensive housing strategy to attract investment in more affordable, social, and market housing; protecting our community from the threat of future wildfires; actively pursuing reconciliation and recognition partnerships with local First Nations; working with the entire forest sector to find ways to stabilize, and potentially even grow, the foundation of our economy; expand our agricultural sector, including opening a new Food Innovation Hub; and making amenities investments throughout the City in an effort to ensure we remain a modern, attractive, and safe place for people to visit, and to live and invest in.
The only reason the Gold Pan is receiving so much attention of late is because some people believe that a tourism/marketing gimmick from the 1986 Expo has somehow risen to “heritage” status in the few decades it’s been at its location north of town. Make no mistake, both the “Gold Pan City” tag line and logo from 1982/3, and the giant symbolic Gold Pan that was installed in 1987 are simply part of a previous tourism and marketing strategy voted into existence in the 1980s by a previous City Council. These dated symbols are not historic by any stretch of the imagination; and, moving the Gold Pan to a more high-profile location as part of our transition strategy is not disrespecting either our heritage or our pioneers, as some have claimed.
At a time when we’re dealing with an unprecedented global pandemic, massive protests worldwide over human rights violations, the meltdown of our forest sector, and the threat of living in a world of constant climate change induced emergencies, such as the floods and fires we’re experiencing, Council’s focus is on the bigger issues of the day and leading our community through this challenging time.
Just because some people believe that “saving” a marketing gimmick from the late 1980s is worthy of protest tactics, doesn’t mean that Council is focusing its energy on this minor part of our overall transition strategy. Council made the decision, in an open and transparent manner, to move the Gold Pan many months ago, staff are now merely in the process of executing that decision.
The Gold Pan will soon be moved to a better, more high profile location and integrated into the other major investments we’re making in that area: the new playground and picnic area at LeBourdais Park, the new flow through RV parking area at the Visitor’s Centre, the soon-to-be renovated and upgraded Museum, and the short-term RV park and campground that will be built on the riverfront trail next to the Johnston Bridge. This area will gain even more profile and importance for both residents and tourists once the North-South Interconnector is built and no highway traffic is flowing between the park and the railway and river.
Mayor of Quesnel