Pat Harrison of JPH Consultants explains the various possible locations along Myrt Thompson Trail where improvements could be made and structures could be built to optimize the area's use

Myrt Thompson Trail upgrade possibilities proposed

Campbellton Neighbourhood Association presents feasibility study for community to ponder

The Campbellton Neighbourhood Association (CNA) has been making improvements to their corner of the municipality for years, and last Thursday night at the Enterprise Centre on Alder Street, they presented some of the fruits of the work that has been happening behind the scenes.

“Our focus at the CNA has been to revitalize Campbellton,” says Brian Shaw of the CNA. “We have embarked on a route that focuses on river access, because it’s our greatest asset. If we can improve access to the river for the public, for tourists, for just local residents – to get some little parks along the river, for example – we’re going to get more interest.”

What’s important from the CNA’s perspective, Shaw says, is to do what they can to get more people flowing into that area of town, which will naturally attract more business endeavours to the area, which will further increase the flow of people. They are hoping to create a beneficial cycle for an area of Campbell River that Shaw feels has been neglected.

The public forum was their chance to show off some of their proposed plans to make that happen – the presentation of their Myrt Thompson Trail Improvement feasibility study.

Pat Harrison, principal landscape architect for JPH Consultants, who has been working on the feasibility study, says there were numerous potential sites along the trail where it would be possible to locate structures, viewing platforms, informational kiosks, and the like, but their study concluded that two of the cites in particular were better than the rest.

“We conducted a technical review of the sites – the opportunities and constraints of each one. This is a synthesis of what we found,” Harrison says, pointing at the various posters and presentation material on display around the room.

Harrison says the main entrance to the trail, at the end of Maple Street, would be an ideal location for a river lookout to be built, as well as a parking area to relieve some of the impact of people parking on Maple Street itself.

The second proposed site for improvement is up the trail, and would see a raised wooden structure built beside the river.

“The concept for this one is more that it could become a regional attraction,” Harrison says.

“This would get you high enough to see the whole estuary and well up the river to the two bridges.”

The idea of the public forum Thursday wasn’t to simply decide on one or the other of the concepts, but to present them to the public for review and garner feedback.

“This is kind of the last stage of the development phase of this,” Harrison says. “We have a report that’s in process, and once we receive input, there will be a review within the report document that will say what the feedback was, who gave that feedback, and so forth. This is us with our ears open.”

“This whole thing just has to be taken one step at a time,” Shaw agrees. “We’ve been working at this for a couple of years now.”

They’re not just going to pull the trigger on something now that they have a couple of more fleshed out ideas.

“The intent here is to show that the process is taking place, and it’s not being ramrodded down people’s throats.”

It’s not like they could just take action on it once they present it to the public, anyway.

“Certainly there are other considerations,” Shaw says.

The trail improvements they are looking at have various stakeholders that all need to be on board and consulted, for example.

For more information about the proposals or the CNA in general, contact Shaw at bshaw@mackieresearch.com or Ross Sharp at rosssharp@shaw.ca