The Quesnel Gold Pandemic Rally event is set to take place at the site of the gold pan at 1 p.m. on Sunday May 31. (Sasha Sefter - Observer File Photo)

Gold pan relocation causing pan-demonium

Residents set to rally in protest of the Quesnel Gold Pan relocation this weekend

A group of Quesnel residents are planning to rally in protest of the relocation of the Quesnel Gold Pan at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 31.

The rally comes as preparations are beginning to take place by the City to relocate the gold pan from its current location on Highway 97 North, at the turnoff to Barkerville at Highway 26 where it has lived since 1987, to the BC Rail parking lot across from the Quesnel Visitor Centre and the Quesnel and District Museum and Archives.

The rally is being spearheaded by Quesnel resident Debra McKelvie who feels passionately that the gold pan stay where it is as at its current location as it serves as an iconic and historic landmark.

“The present location was carefully planned as this was and remains the junction north of Quesnel to our historic resources up Highway 26 better known as the Barkerville highway to locals,” said McKelvie.

McKelvie also believes that new home chosen for the gold pan may be a safety issue given its proximity to the train yard and the highway.

“The train yard is a terrible place to relocate our gold pan,” said McKelvie. “It is dangerous for tourists and locals alike to be crossing a very busy highway. Additionally the train yard is dangerous for children and pets. It’s an accident waiting to happen.”

McKelvie says she doesn’t see any long-term benefit to the community by relocating the gold pan and feels as though city council could have been more transparent during the decision-making and planning stages of the relocation project.

“I embrace change if it’s good for our community but I see no long term purpose in this foolish decision and I maintain that our Mayor and Council were short sighted in making this decision and were not as transparent about it as they claim they were. The money spent on this sign could be better utilized in our community especially with the shortfalls in revenue coming in with Covid 19,”said McKelvie.

Quesnel City Council voted in favour of relocating the gold pan in October of 2019 after hearing the final report of a wayfinding and place-making strategy project completed by the City in 2018 which recommended the gold pan be moved to a more central location.

The project included workshops with arts, culture and heritage groups and the business community, as well as an open house and survey for the public.

READ MORE: City of Quesnel clarifies process behind gold pan relocation

The Quesnel Train Station was selected as the new home for the gold pan because it can be easily accessed from Highway 97, which will allow visitors to access restaurants and shops, according to the City, which notes the new location is also close to the Visitor Information Centre, which has a lending program for gold panning and has RV parking, and the gold pan will be close to the Quesnel and District Museum and Archives.

On May 24 the Observer hosted a web poll on social media asking residents whether or not the supported the relocation of the gold pan. As of Wednesday, May 27, 2,044 individual and unique votes have been received, 1,748 in opposition of the relocation project and only 296 in support of it.

McKelvie says the Quesnel Pandemic Rally will take all appropriate physical distancing measures due to COVID-19 and encourages onlookers to do the same. Participants will be gathering in their vehicles at the gold pan at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 31 before forming a motorcade parade and driving through downtown Quesnel.

READ MORE: Quesnel’s giant gold pan will have a new home



sasha.sefter@quesnelobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Quesnel

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Cariboo-Chilcotin rally aims to stop antlerless moose hunt

Cow Moose Sign Project supported by First Nations, guide outfitters, ranchers

Quesnel Waveriders jumping into fall swim season

Pandemic restrictions mean swim meets are out, and athletes need to be distanced during practice

More B.C. food options coming to Northern Health facilities

Northern Health is now part of the provincial Feed BC program

The legacy of the Battle of Britain

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 94 marked Battle of Britain Day with a small service Sept. 15

Quesnel golfers make the cut

The Quesnel Golf Club hosted championships for men and women over the past two weeks

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

Penticton woman sentenced to one year in prison for manslaughter of teen boyfriend

Kiera Bourque, 24, was sentenced for manslaughter in the 2017 death of Penticton’s Devon Blackmore

B.C. Green leader says NDP abandoning environmental plan

Horgan’s claim of unstable government false, Furstenau says

Transgender B.C. brothers debut fantasy novel as author duo Vincent Hunter

‘Transgender people are being misrepresented in popular fiction and media, and we aim to change that’

Most Read