By Morgan Ostler and Mary Ruth Snyder
Who knew? Scrub bush, cottages and industrial buildings shroud the view.
The Campbell River is one of the province’s most celebrated waterways. It surges past this small community of Campbellton — all but unseen by passersby.
Thanks to the dedicated efforts of local enthusiastic residents and business owners, Campbellton’s star is rising. It has taken 10 years of scrubbing sidewalks, grooming foliage and planting flower boxes to arrive at this point. The Campbellton Neighbourhood Association (CNA) was formed before any real attention was paid to the transformation underway. The association members fully realized the historic importance of the river and its position in the development of the regional area.
More than 100 years ago Campbellton was the centre of a rough little community teeming with industrial activity. Today’s CNA members are a truly visionary group led by Brian Shaw.
The vision began in 2013 when the CNA began a collaboration with a geography class from Vancouver Island University. This led to the CNA receiving invaluable professional guidance that saw the development of a far-reaching plan. It included beautification of streets, enhancement of byways, trail building and maintenance, the improvement of three viewpoint platforms providing access to the river, as well as creation of village signage and way-finding. Many of these projects are either completed or well underway. The City of Campbell River has demonstrated their support of the CNA’s initiatives with funding for the various projects.
In addition, the approach to Campbellton via the Inland Island Highway was to be the focal point. In the coming weeks, the foundation will be laid for the new entrance feature — a mounted de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver floatplane — a symbol of aviation’s importance in the early history of the community. Private funding is covering the costs of the aircraft’s construction and installation.
This renewed energy and momentum throughout Campbellton has led to a new logo — The Campbellton Bear — that will be utilized on all of the new welcome signage and way-finding. All of these efforts are leading to a welcoming atmosphere enhancing the Campbellton experience for businesses, shoppers, outdoor adventurers and the residents.
We look forward to your visit and stay tuned for the next developments!
Morgan Ostler is a former city councillor and member of the Campbellton Neighborhood Association and Mary Ruth Snyder is executive director of the Campbell River and District Chamber of Commerce.