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Clean up proposal has councillors scratching heads

A unique approach to cleaning up Campbellton that will have seniors and youth working together created some confusion on council Tuesday night.

The Campbellton Neighbourhood Association, a group of Campbellton business owners and residents that are working towards improvements to the northern end of town, came to council looking for its support of an application for a provincial government grant.

The $20,000 grant through the Union of British Columbia Municipalities targets projects focused on making a community age-friendly, meaning older residents are supported to live active, socially engaged, and independent lives through policies, programs and services designed to support them.

A group of active seniors participating in the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association believes it fits the bill for one of the grants, as the seniors are working on a beautification project at the entrance to Campbellton that would promote community pride and showcase Campbell River to out of town visitors.

Morgan Ostler, a former city councillor who works at a greenhouse in Campbellton and is part of the beautification group, said the city’s Youth Action Committee is working with the Campbellton group to share its vision for how to improve the area.

“We met with the youth group and we were pleased with their enthusiasm in being a part of this process,” Ostler said. “We feel they will gain a great deal by working with us, as well, we will benefit as they will bring their own ideas.”

Brian Shaw, vice-chair of the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association, said both groups will work together to change the character of Campbellton and create a new sense of place.

“The seniors and youth involved in the Campbellton initiative have expressed interest in collaborating to make physical improvements to beautify Campbellton, while sharing intergenerational knowledge, history, and ideas of place making that will bring Campbellton into the 21st century,” Shaw said.

Coun. Claire Moglove said she liked the route the group has taken of having both seniors and youth working together.

“I was pleased with the inter-generational aspect of this,” said Moglove. But she didn’t know why the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association was applying for the grant, as eligible applicants to the program are local B.C. governments.

“As I read the guidelines only the city can apply, so would this be a city project?” Moglove asked.

Amber Zirnhelt, the city’s sustainability manager, said the city will support the grant but the beautification work would fall to the Campbellton group.

“Staff would work with the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association to support the application as well as running the project, though it would be the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association steering the project,” Zirnhelt said. “Staff would have a limited role.”

That caused concern for Moglove and Coun. Andy Adams.

“Do we have the resources to do this?” Moglove asked staff.

Adams wondered the same thing.

“As for the responsibility of the city administering this, knowing we’re going into financial planning, do you see this as doable or an impediment?” he asked.

City Manager Andy Laidlaw said staff believe the city’s sustainability department can accommodate the project.

That prompted council to pass a motion to support the application and to send a letter of support with the Campbellton application.

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