Campbell River to welcome hundreds of delegates as AVICC descends on the city this weekend

Campbell River set to play host to the 2017 AVICC convention

Up to 300 local government and regional district delegates from across the Island, the Sunshine Coast and Powell River are descending on Campbell River this weekend (April 7-9).

The local government representatives will be here as part of the annual Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) conference which Campbell River is hosting for the first time since 2002.

Mayor Andy Adams said Campbell Riverites should be on the look out for the visitors.

“Rooms have been reserved at multiple local hotels and local businesses should expect to see more people out and about downtown, especially Saturday,” Adams said. “We encourage local residents to welcome and share their stories with visitors.”

The event begins Friday with tours of the new in-progress John Hart Generating Station and drinking water supply system, as well as the new hospital.

Opening ceremonies kick off at 2 p.m. at the Campbell River Community Centre and will feature a performance by the Campbell River Children’s Choir and a First Nations celebration song and welcome by Lavern Henderson. Chris Turner, a sustainability author and expert, will deliver the keynote address at 2:30 p.m. on Vancouver Island’s Place in the Global Energy Transition.

The Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre will present information about the upcoming Tribal Journeys event in early August which is being hosted by the We Wai Kum in Campbell River and the Wei Wai Kai on Quadra Island.

“The Community Centre halls will be transformed into a path through a live forest, minus the wild animals,” Mayor Adams said in a release. “The meeting rooms will captivate delegates with Eiko Jones’ underwater photography.”

The convention – which is ultimately held for the purpose of lobbying senior levels of government – is a forum for local governments to put forward resolutions in an attempt to get support from other communities. Resolutions that end up endorsed by AVICC then go to the Union of British Columbia Muncipalities (UBCM) convention in September for endorsement to take to the provincial government. Resolutions to extend the length of city councillors’ terms of office to four years and move municipal elections to October are examples of resolutions that made it to the UBCM level and were in turn approved by the province.

As part of the AVICC convention, there will be a trade show area. The City of Campbell River will have a booth set up and staffed by city employees to highlight cultural, economic and tourism opportunities in the region.

City staff are also organizing a delegate partner tour that will feature several local landmarks.

“The guided tour will begin at our own museum, which was voted one of the top 10 in Canada by Trip Advisor in 2014,” Adams said. “Along the seaside route to Willow Point to visit Sybil Andrews’ Cottage and back into town, the tour guide will point out local attractions, and provide insights along the drive to the Wei Wai Kum House of Treasures and Art Gallery.”

In preparation for the event, council recently approved spending $6,400 to upgrade the free WiFi at the Community Centre in order to handle up to 30 times more users.

The WiFi at the Community Centre could only handle 10 to 20 users at one time which fell well short of the 250 to 300 minimum user requirement AVICC requires.

AVICC will be a warm-up for Campbell River when it comes to putting its hosting skills to the test.

The convention is the first of several major events coming to the city this year.

“The timing is great for hosting this conference as 2017 is Campbell River’s 70th anniversary and we have other major events happening this year to entice visitors back,” Adams said. “City staff helping to prepare for this event are ensuring Campbell River’s official motto – Enriched by Land and Sea – will be front and centre and that our area’s culture and heritage and extraordinary upcoming events will be showcased.”

The BC Elders Gathering hits the city in July and is expected to draw 3,000 to 3,200 delegates, followed by Tribal Journeys Aug. 5-10 which is estimated to draw up to 7,000 visitors to Campbell River.