Birthdays and Christmas look a little different this year for the Coleman family. Each member of the family now has a Multi-Centre seat in their name.
“I can imagine Donald picking up a coffee and enjoying it in his seat at the Multi-Centre,” Ed said.
“All our kids grew up and graduated in Quesnel.”
But Ed is going another step further in his support of the proposed facility. It is his belief that there’s a way for everyone to help support the Multi-Centre and he’s conducting an experiment to prove it can be done. With $50 of his own seed money, Coleman is inviting anyone who drops by the Helen Dixon Centre to drop whatever they can in the can to purchase a seat in Helen Dixon’s name.
“Helen Dixon was the first teacher in B.C. to have a school named after her while she was still teaching at her namesake school in Quesnel’s inner core,” he said.
“She was a avid supporter of arts and culture and if she were here today, she’d be behind the Multi-Centre.
“Classrooms can raise the $250 for a seat and their grade, school and year can remain a forever legacy of that class. There’s so many ways people can participate.”
Quesnel’s future is determined by what is done yesterday, today and tomorrow. Coleman says the Multi-Centre is a turning-point investment.
“Through the ourQuesnel planning process, it has determined what Quesnel needs to look like by 2040,” he said.
“So, there are thousands of projects which need to occur over the next 30 years to achieve that vision.”
He went on to say there are very few communities which have an inner core (North Quesnel) like we have, so the Multi-Centre will have a major impact on the type of housing development in the future.
Coleman also spoke of the aging demographics of the population, commenting that one of the most important elements in the new facility will be the walking track.
“It creates a year-round community and can be utilized by all ages. My belief is, in addition to the walking track, we should have an exterior perimeter track around the whole development. In a healthy community, regardless of how you get around – walking, wheeling, in a stroller – walking is something everyone can do and that creates a sense of community. An indoor walking track and an outdoor walking path will enhance the sense of community already created by the other activities in the Multi-Centre.”
Multi-centres throughout Western Canada have evolved a lot in the last five years, he said.
“To include such features as outdoor stationary bikes, available to everyone and indoor/outdoor all purpose year round playgrounds are key to allowing multi-generational interaction from toddlers to grandparents.”
To truly be a multi-centre, it must serve a multitude of purposes with many activities, so every person who comes through the doors will have their needs met, Coleman added.
“By having a multi-centre of the calibre envisioned, we will be recognized well beyond our region and it will open doors to attract events and activities 100-fold over what we can do now.”
And further to the investment element of the proposed complex, Coleman said it will truly drive housing investment.
“Therefore, with more people living and playing in the downtown core, it will impact business development. A signature investment like the Multi-Centre drives another whole set of investments by citizens and private sector. This investment will trigger other investment and that will keep Quesnel competitive.”
As Quesnel grows and evolves, Coleman cited the future of the current QJS building and grounds as key.
“The future of QJS school and property has an important relationship to the Multi-Centre. There’s the potential for 64 city lots at that site.”
He went on to say for the development of Western Canada’s economy, it’s paramount Quesnel offers a friendly community allowing families to live here and work anywhere and the Multi-Centre is a key element in that scenario. He also said the Multi-Centre is key in retaining families who already live here.
The clock is ticking on securing the funding to make Quesnel’s Multi-Centre a reality and Coleman said the community can make a difference.
“We’re very close and every effort needs to made to drive the project forward.
“This is definitely a case of, ‘if you build it, they will come.’ Just watch!
“There’s endless ways to give in this community but what we have right now is an opportunity to make our voices strong and help achieve this turning point for Quesnel.”