New Downtown Quesnel banners with the tag line ‘Walk, Talk and Shop’ will line the city streets as part of a new rebranding initiative from Downtown Quesnel. (Photo submitted)

New Downtown Quesnel banners with the tag line ‘Walk, Talk and Shop’ will line the city streets as part of a new rebranding initiative from Downtown Quesnel. (Photo submitted)

Quesnel Downtown Association counting pandemic blessings

Mike Briggs said the organization is focused on getting shovel ready projects funding

Mike Briggs is counting his blessings.

The president of the Quesnel Downtown Association says while the COVID-19 pandemic has shelved most of the organization’s plans, they’ve been able to continue to draw people downtown.

“We are surviving,” Briggs said. “We’re doing better than some communities.”

A planned concert series was one of the projects put on hold.

“The last year or so, we’ve been focused on doing some re-branding,” Briggs said. “We’ve basically done that, and now we’re trying to market the downtown, trying to compete with online shopping, make sure people know there’s a viable downtown that has basically everything you need.”

Even the association’s structure has been altered by the pandemic. The city only extended the bylaw which enables the Downtown Association to continue for two years, instead of longer due to uncertainty brought on by COVID-19.

“We can’t really plan for anything at the moment, so it was hard to create a budget,” Briggs said.

One of the projects completed is Spirit Square, a refresh of the stage area near the sunrise rotary clock.

“We’ve got so many fantastic businesses downtown, and we want to be able to showcase that not only to our local community but tourists as well,” Briggs said. “What’s the use of having a beautiful downtown if our locals aren’t using it.”

Briggs added the pandemic hasn’t changed the association’s goals, but did change how they went about achieving those goals.

“Our goal is to bring people downtown, to make people feel like downtown is a safe and welcoming environment,” he said. “I think so far we’ve been fairly successful with that.”

In the meantime, the association is looking to get as many shovel ready projects ready to go in anticipation of grant money for projects opening up again. One of those projects is to add more lighting in the downtown area.

READ MORE: Quesnel Downtown Association requests two-year bylaw renewal

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