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Campell River neighbourhood revitalization project merges art, nature and tourism

THRIVE project to create unique public space in transitioning industrial area
The new bear statue in Campbellton was unveiled in September by Ken Blackburn (Campbell River Arts Council; l-r), Laurel Cronk (Campbellton Neighbourhood Association, Vice Chair), Morgan Ostler (CNA Director), Kris Nesbitt (CNA Director), and Brian Shaw (CNA Chair). Photo by Sean Feagan/Campbell River Mirror.

An innovative new effort by the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association (CNA) to beautify and revitalize the newly branded Campbellton River Village will soon get underway with support from the Island Coast Economic Trust (ICET)’s THRIVE Small Capital Program.

As part of a larger “Rescue the River” initiative, Bridge Viewpoint, situated on the bank of the Campbell River, will build on revitalization efforts by developing a unique and aesthetically pleasing public parkette. The space will provide a much-needed neighbourhood gathering space and open up new river views to the public and visitors.

Building on the city’s reputation as the “Salmon Capital of the World,” the space will also help expand and enrich the salmon narrative through a striking 50-foot-long mural photography display by local, award-winning artist Eiko Jones. A QR code will also provide access to his underwater video trailer, Heartbeat of the River.

“This project is an inspiring example of how a determined group of volunteers can combine environmental awareness, sustainability, art and eco-tourism in creative ways that create value for locals and visitors,” says Aaron Stone, ICET Board Chair. “Increasing local use and visitation to this area, will also have a trickle-down effect for area businesses, further enriching the lives of residents and appeal to future investors.”

The THRIVE Small Capital Program was launched in late May to help stimulate and promote vitality in downtowns, Main Streets and business districts across the region. One-stop funding support of up to 100 per cent of eligible project costs (to a maximum of $50,000) is available thanks to a joint collaboration with Tourism Vancouver Island (TVI) and the Vancouver, Coast & Mountains tourism region (managed by Destination BC).

“We gratefully acknowledge the Province of BC for the funding to support the THRIVE Small Capital Program and help community projects such as this be realized,” says Anthony Everett, President & CEO, Tourism Vancouver Island. “We know that a great place to live is also a great place to visit, so the beautification of the Campbellton River Village is sure to complement the visitor experience for travellers coming to the area for world-class fishing, outdoor adventure and Indigenous tourism experiences as we rebuild the tourism industry.”

The project will contribute to a safe and welcoming shared sense of place, where people can feel connected to the river and all it has to offer. By creating a natural, wheelchair accessible and visible pathway leading to the water and surrounded by trees and native vegetation, visitors will have the opportunity to soak up the beauty of their surroundings. The Campbellton Neighbourhood Association will also be working with the Campbell River Arts Council to commission public art for the site and to integrate innovative design elements to the amenities provided.

“Bridge Viewpoint is an important part of a larger plan to showcase the value and potential of our riverfront neighbourhood. While many Campbellton residents live within walking distance of the Campbell River, they currently have very few opportunities to experience, or even view, the river,” says Laurel Cronk, Vice-Chair of CNA. “We are thrilled to work with the City of Campbell River, the CR Arts Council, and local artists on this project and, together, we hope to create a welcoming and relaxing place where locals and tourists can enjoy the river, appreciate the wildlife, and watch the many activities that happen at the river.”

Bridge Viewpoint is positioned on the new seven-kilometre River Route trail system linking seven Campbellton trails, including the Greenways Loop, which supports active transportation and tourism. It will become the second such parkette, building on the recent success of a smaller river view site, Spruce St. Viewpoint, featuring a life-size driftwood bear sculpture.

The project is set to get underway shortly.

All applications to the THRIVE Small Capital Funding Stream will now be accepted on an ongoing basis until the program is fully subscribed.

For more information on the THRIVE Small Capital Funding Stream, please visit:

RELATED: New Campbellton ‘River Route’ soon to be unveiled

VIDEO: New Campbellton bear statue unveiled

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