CEO of the Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences Jim Powell

Popular downtown mural officially ‘unveiled’

Discovery Passage Mural just one of many planned ways to beautify the downtown core

It’s been up since late summer, but the Discovery Passage Mural on the side of the building at 871 Island Highway on Pier Street received it’s official unveiling last week.

“We hope that as people enter this gateway to downtown, they get a sense of what’s awaiting them when they get into the heart of Campbell River,” said Jim Powell, CEO of the BC Centre for Aquatic Health (BC CAHS) at the event. “We feel that this mural is a portal to our past, our future, and the sense of who we are here in Campbell River and what’s here to explore and discover.”

Accompanying the mural, there is also a handy guide plaque placed beside the door of the BC CAHS that explains the creatures and other life that is featured in the work.

Artists Alex Witcombe and Nick Hutton-Jay of Flywheel Studios, who designed and painted the mural, weren’t able to make the unveiling, but sent a statement, which was read by Powell.

“We would like to send a huge, resounding thank-you to the people of Campbell River for making this mural such a joy to paint,” the statement read. “One of the major positives of being involved in public art is the interaction with the public. The great comments, conversations and waves from honking cars made painting this a truly memorable experience.

“We are looking forward to adding much more colour and vibrancy to the city of Campbell River in the years to come.”

Mayor Andy Adams is looking forward to more colour and vibrancy popping up in the downtown core, as well.

“Downtown revitalization has been a key strategic priority for not only this council but all four councils I’ve been on over the past 10 years,” Adams said. “What we’ve been able to do, with the help of Ron Neufeld and his staff at City Hall, is create incentives and opportunities to engage the community to help bring that revitalization to fruition.”

He said they first came up with the tax exemption initiative to help drive more business into the core, which he credits for new businesses such as Berwick, Comfort Inn, Seymour Pacific and the recently-opened Healthyway Natural Foods facility.

“We then came up with the facade improvement program, and we’ve seen Ridgerider and some other places that have taken advantage of that, and this is another example.”

Adams says one of the things he likes most about the beautification initiative is that “we’re leaving it up to the community to decide,” he says.

“With the Facade Improvement Program, we’ve really left it to the committee (made up of various community members from different sectors) to tell us what they think works, and, what can I tell you? It works. This is pretty cool,” he says, looking up at the new mural.

And more are on the way.

Adams confirmed that more facades in that area of downtown have been approved for mural installation, including Tyee Marine, right across the street, though there has been no timeline given for its completion.