The crowd was small but mighty, but Campbellton Neighbourhood Association (CNA) chairperson Laurel Cronk wouldn’t have had it any other way.
The CNA, along with members of the City of Campbell River and artist Alex Witcombe were on hand for a dedication at River Nook Park, situated along the banks of the Campbell River on June 6.
“This little park celebrates the convergence of nature, of art and community,” said Cronk in her opening address. “This space was one that was literally filled with blackberries, with garbage. It felt unsafe. I remember it was horrible. It is now a place where people can come and relax, enjoy the river and enjoy adventure.”
The mural, located on the east side of the Tamarac Bridge behind On the Rocks Climbing Gym was worked on by local artist Alex Witcombe for around two months. Witcombe used his unique abilities to bring his driftwood art to life, with several salmon welcoming visitors down the stairs as well as a black bear.
“The bear’s name is Quinnie,” said the Quadra Island based Witcombe, “named after the Quinsam Hotel.”
Mayor Kermit Dahl and his wife Betty were among the dignitaries at the ceremony, and city arboriculture technician Alex Walton says that these are the kind of landmarks which make the Rivercity one of a kind.
“These are the kinds of projects that make my job worthwhile,” said Walton. “Being in public service, working with somebody or a group of people to bring people together. We have the ingenuity and the art and the people that come here. This is a great project.”
The centrepiece of the art work is a mural that envelopes the wall that leads visitors down the stairs. Cronk said she would hope people would feel themselves becoming one with nature.
“We wanted people to feel like there’s salmon coming down the river,” Cronk said, then asking attendees, “do you feel like salmon coming down the river?”
The mural and art were made possible via a $50,000 grant from Island Coastal Economic Trust and Vancouver Island Tourism.