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Campbell River recognized for its hospitality towards immigrants

Mayor Walter Jakeway, centre with plaque, receives the WelcomeBC Award on behalf of the city from Rachel Blaney, right, executive director of the Immigrant Welcome Centre. The award recognizes Campbell River for its dedication to providing excellent services and programs for immigrants to our community. - Photo courtesy of the City of Campbell River
Mayor Walter Jakeway, centre with plaque, receives the WelcomeBC Award on behalf of the city from Rachel Blaney, right, executive director of the Immigrant Welcome Centre. The award recognizes Campbell River for its dedication to providing excellent services and programs for immigrants to our community.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of the City of Campbell River

City council was presented with an award last week that recognizes Campbell River for its outstanding contribution to services and programs for immigrants.

The WelcomeBC Award was presented during a WelcomeBC Day celebration on Nov. 6 in Vancouver, but the award made its way to council chambers Dec. 4.

Rachel Blaney, executive director of the Immigrant Welcome Centre, Julina Spetch from the Campbell River Literacy Association and Colleen Hanley from North Island College were on hand to present the award to council.

“The success we’ve seen for our community in terms of immigrants coming and having high success that’s continuing to grow is thanks to the work the city is doing...and the help from our stakeholders,” Blaney said.

Campbell River was selected as one of the award recipients from among municipalities across the province.

“They were really looking at rural communities that were using activities or doing activities that encourage people to be successful in terms of business and in terms of settling into a community, and Campbell River was one of two communities across the province that have done that,” Blaney said.

Blaney said most immigrants are coming to Campbell River because they have friends or family in the community but there has been an increase in people coming specifically for job opportunities.

She noted there’s also been a rise in the number of people settling here from the United Kingdom because of Campbell River’s beauty.

“It’s a life experience they want,” said Blaney who added Campbell River provides a welcoming experience which is attracting people from around the world.

The Immigrant Welcome Centre, located inside Robron Centre, plays a huge role.

The organization has been providing settlement services and programs since 1992 and opened an office in the Comox Valley last year.

More than 600 clients have been served in the past year as immigration continues to bring skilled newcomers to the community, many of whom are thriving in Campbell River and now run their own business.

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