Campbellton Neighbourhood Association Co-chair Jim DeHart outlines a community renewal strategy for Coun. Ron Kerr.

Campbellton – a neighbourhood being redefined

This Saturday the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association is launching a planning session to brainstorm ideas on how to spruce up the area

This Saturday the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association is launching a planning process with the goal of transforming its neglected part of the city into a thriving community.

The event from noon to 2 p.m. is a free hot dog BBQ in the parking lot next door to the Association’s community office in the Campbell River Bowling Centre complex at 1661 16th Avenue. The food and the BBQ are being donated by Real Canadian Superstore and Associated Tire.

Association Co-chair Jim DeHart says the event will launch the information gathering stage of the development of an action plan for the community. The association started about a year ago as “Campbellton First” and has evolved into a 70-member strong group of business people and residents.

DeHart says the city’s strategic plan did nothing to address specific challenges in Cambellton like “what are we going to do with our main drag and how are we going to intermix residential and business.”

“For years Campbellton was the exit from town, not the entrance until Highway 19 was opened about 12 years ago. This area was always the way out of town and the last place anyone thought about doing anything. It was the oldest part of town. Now, that it is the entrance to town it needs a lot more attention paid to it.”

DeHart says the planning issues being canvassed will include everything from signage to open ditches to the integration of residential and commercial uses to the lack of maintenance and bylaw enforcement to crime and street lighting.

“We’re looking for input from residents and businesses to identify planning priorities so we can take that to the city and say this is where we need to go.”

DeHart says the city has provided the CNA with about $3,000 in seed money and the Bowling Centre has donated office space. The city is also helping train CNA members to do the essential asset inventory mapping that will form the basis of the planning process.

This coming spring the group will have prepared “a work plan” that sets out the priorities that need to be addressed by the city.

Coun. Ron Kerr, who is responsible for the “Campbellton portfolio” on city council, has been involved with the initiative since Campbellton First was conceived in 2011.

“I think this is a good example of grassroots community building. I think council is on board in terms of supporting it and city staff will be here to help,” Kerr says.

“There’s lots of opportunity here. Campbellton is a really dynamic community and it is different than the rest of the city. I think we need to retain that. The survey of assets and liabilities is going to really identify what we have here. We don’t need to knock it all down and change it. This can be a really unique community and through this process I’m hoping we can do some real neighbourhood building,” Kerr says.