The new gas distribution facility installed in Campbellton at 16th and Spruce.

Campbell River neighbourhood receives $15,000 grant from FortisBC for “Rescue the River”

A $15,000 grant from FortisBC to the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association (CNA) will be a major boost to the community, says CNA chair Brian Shaw.

The grant, which was announced at the recent Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver, is for the CNA’s Rescue the River project, which involves restoring public access to the shores of the Campbell River at several spots in the Campbellton area, beginning with the creation of a small park at the end of Spruce Street.

“This is a key event for the CNA,” said Shaw, noting it gives much-needed impetus to Rescue the River after the initial efforts for improved public access at the end of Maple Street had to be deferred until other land-use decisions in that area are made by the City of Campbell River, which controls the shoreline, and the Campbell River Indian Band, which owns large parcels of vacant land nearby.

Shaw said the CNA’s plans envision several other public-access developments in Campbellton including adding a very scenic viewpoint and bench on 20th Avenue and similar facilities between the bridges on Tamarack and Willow streets as well as the Maple Street concept already developed.

The FortisBC grant to the CNA was one of four announced this year from 77 applicants by non-profit charities seeking community investment funding and will be used to clear the Spruce Street area of brush and debris and the installation of a viewing platform.

“This grant is really important to the CNA because it qualifies the CNA to receive a matching grant from the City of Campbell River which will enable us to proceed immediately with design and engineering plans,” said Shaw, acknowledging that further fundraising may be needed to complete the project.

Shaw thanked FortisBC for its recognition of the project’s merits and needs and noted it may also reflect that FortisBC presently is in the midst of upgrading its gas lines in Campbellton, especially along the higher levels of Spruce Street, and that Campbell River in general is a major market for Fortis because it supplies all of the natural gas to the Capital Power generating station on the north side of the city.

“FortisBC has proven to be a good corporate citizen in Campbellton by agreeing to hold some public information sessions on its system upgrade and now this grant makes that point even more so,” said Shaw, who has been chair of the CNA since it was formally incorporated about four years ago.

“This progress on the Spruce Street parklet idea also will give momentum to our other projects too by providing proof that the CNA’s efforts are credible and really are benefiting the local community,” he said, citing especially the soon-coming installation of an entrance feature and tourist pullout on city land on 14th Avenue between the north and southbound lanes of the new Island Highway.

The CNA plans there include putting a reconstructed Beaver float plane on a pedestal and adding signage and maps that could help tourists realize what services and facilities are available in the city as a whole. He said assembly of the plane recently was completed by Sealand Aviation, which donated the parts and services to do so, and now the city will specify the appropriate spot while McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd. designs the pedestal.

“These projects give further evidence that the CNA has made a lot of progress in its brief existence,” said Shaw, citing traffic, pedestrian and lighting improvements, creation of an award-winning community garden on 15th Avenue near Petersen, beautification projects including the erection of dozens of artistic banners on light poles and replanting of about 20 flower boxes, and the launch of an annual Campbellton Days event on the B.C. Day long weekend to help promote local businesses. The CNA also runs the beverage facility for the annual Salmon Festival and logger sports event in Campbellton.

“For a relatively small group of business and community activists we’re really getting a lot done,” said Shaw, emphasizing that new participants, new memberships and further donations are always welcome. He can be contacted at Mackie Research in Campbellton at 250-287-8807.

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