Candidates Asked: What’s the future of active transportation in Campbell River?

The River City Cycling Club hit up the municipal by-election candidates for their thoughts

The River City Cycling Club asked Campbell River municipal by-election candidates their thoughts on where active transportation plays into Campbell River’s future development. Black Press File Photo

The River City Cycling Club asked Campbell River municipal by-election candidates their thoughts on where active transportation plays into Campbell River’s future development. Black Press File Photo

The River City Cycle Club (RCCC) has been advocating for years for improvements to the city’s cycling infrastructure.

So with a municipal by-election coming up, they took the opportunity to pose a couple of questions to the candidates to see where they stand – or rather ride – on what they see are the issues in the community in regards to active transportation.

“We’re just trying to amplify the conversation around cycling and cycling infrastructure,” says John Elson with the RCCC’s Cycling Advocacy Committee. “It’s the local government that is closest to these issues and we didn’t want it to be overlooked in the election, so we thought we’d give the candidates an opportunity to speak on the matter and give voters the chance to hear what they had to say.”

“The city has some ambitious targets for lowering greenhouse emissions, and you can only do that, really, with transportation policies,” Elson says. “We need to get people out of their cars and walking, cycling and taking transit,” so the first question the group posed to the candidates was “What role do you see cycling and other forms of active transportation playing in Campbell River’s future?”

Ken Blackburn says he thinks active transportation should be a priority for all communities.

“The investigation into alternative forms of transportation, including restricting car access in downtowns, mobilizing more flexible public transit and encouraging biking/walking are all top agenda items if we want to begin the evolution of our cities away from car obsession,” Blackburn says, adding that the development of active transportation strategies “strike right at the core of community health.”

“Not only is personal health improved through being active, but environmental, social and economic health are all supported,” Blackburn says. “All age groups are impacted. It is essential to consider active transportation as a key aspect of infrastructure and strategic planning. Campbell River has an opportunity to become a leader in creative thinking around making our community more livable and fostering a high quality-of-life.”

Doug Chapman agrees that active transportation will play an “important role in the future,” but came at it with more of an economic perspective.

“Let’s face it, fuel prices will continue to increase making our traditional vehicles expensive to operate,” Chapman says. “If we are serious about not only the sport of cycling, but the reduction of greenhouse gasses, one of the best ways to reduce our pollution is cycling. Granted, electric vehicles are becoming more popular however, they are expensive and out of reach to a lot of people – including me. As a result, I can see where cycling will not be only for recreation but a necessity as well.”

Kealy Donaldson says there’s never been a better time to look at implementing changes that make the community more friendly to active transportation.

With the city’s OCP under review and major capital projects coming down the pipe, Donaldson says, “now is the time to be building a better tomorrow for Campbell River. Consultation is key in this process and there will be change and upgrades coming for Campbell River’s OCP. Now is the time to be using your voices. With this by-election, it’s just a snapshot of what is to come in 18 months when Campbell River heads into a full municipal election.”

Devon Garat says he thinks “most people want two things for the future of transportation: affordability and sustainability. So bikes do fit both of those categories,” adding that while he doesn’t consider himself an avid cyclist, he does ride his bike to work or for general transportation when the weather is nice.

Stephen Jewell says he would love to see more people cycling and have it have more of a future here.

“We all have bicycles in my family and love to cycle Beaver Lodge Lands,” he says.

Wes Roed calls himself “a former avid mountain biker (and a little on pavement),” so he knows a thing or two about the needs of the biking community.

“First, as a society, we must make a concerted effort to reduce greenhouse emissions,” Roed says. “Cycling and other forms of Active Transportation fit perfectly into that mindset and I believe there is an opportunity to explore ideas in Campbell River to enhance these alternative methods. Other communities and even larger centres like Vancouver and Victoria have already worked bike lanes into their street and road management, and I see no reason for us not to explore the same.

“Secondly,” he continues, “we all need to be healthier. Cycling and other methods are a great form of exercise and allows participants to enjoy the added benefit of getting from point A to point B, while taking in the outdoor beauty Campbell River provides.”

Laurel Slikovic says she thinks active transportation “can and will play a larger role in Campbell River for both residents and visitors to our amazing community.”

“From increased social connectivity to improved physical health, and from reducing carbon emissions to lowering mental stress, the positive impacts of increasing access and promoting cycling and other forms of active transportation are well documented,” Sliskovic says. “As a team member in the recent revitalization in the Greenways Loop, and a researcher and facilitator of sustainable leisure initiatives, I can and will bring my experience, education, and enthusiasm to City Council and keep Active Transportation moving in this community.”

Sean Smyth is also a huge fan of cycling and has been seeing enthusiasm for it grow in the community.

“My kids, my wife and I are cycling enthusiasts,” he says. “We were among the first to participate in Bike to Work/School Week when it came to Campbell River. I was known as the dad who would bike to daycare daily, with the kids in a bike trailer, regardless of the weather. I am incredibly proud to say both my kids were riding a pedal bike (without training wheels) before they were even out of diapers.”

Smyth says he’s seeing more and more people using active transportation over the years, and he couldn’t be happier about it.

“Cycling, in particular, has been increasing in popularity in Campbell River,” he says. “Bike stores have been busier than ever. Vancouver Island is known as a cycling destination. Bicycle touring with electric cycles has become an incredibly fast-growing industry which is encouraging even more people to bicycle. More and more people are using bicycles not only leisurely, but as a form of transportation.”

Watch for the second question from the RCCC – regarding the candidates’ throughts on installing separated bike lanes – in next week’s paper and online at

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Campbell RiverMunicipal election

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Greg Janicki (left), owner of Dogwood Pet Mart rasied $410 this year for the Campbell River SPCA’s Loonies for Love fundraiser which he presented to Stephanie Arkwright, branch manager of the BCSPCA – Campbell River Community Animal Centre. Photo contributed
Pandemic doesn’t stop annual Loonies for Love SPCA fundraiser

Fundraising has been a bit challenging over the past year, but the… Continue reading

The intersection at Dogwood Street and 13th Avenue, next to the No. 1 Firehall, will see some improvements over the next six weeks or so, according to the city. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Intersection improvements coming to Dogwood and 13th Avenue

Expect delays for up to six weeks once work begins, city says

Oyster River fire has responded to 56 calls so far in 2021. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Department
Oyster River Fire averaged one call per day in busy February

One weekend saw 12 calls for service from crew

The students in the Timberline Musical Theatre program are rehearsing this year’s production, Once Upon a Mattress, three days per week after school in preparation for their upcoming virtual performances. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Timberline Musical Theatre hoping for last minute ticket surge

Popular annual run of shows costs $7,000-$8,000 to put on. They’ve sold $750 in tickets

NIC Practical Nursing instructor Barb McPherson (right) is pictured with student Rebecca Wood in 2018 in NIC’s SIM lab. NIC photo
Learn about Practical Nursing opportunities for Island students

Students interested in exploring a future in health care are invited to… Continue reading

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Initiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

This was the scene outside North Saanich’s Parkland Secondary School after an attempted but unsuccessful break-and-enter into the school torched an ATM inside of it. Sidney/North Saanich RCMP did not make any arrests and currently lack suspects as the investigation continues. Members of the public who may have witnessed something or possess other information can contact police at (250) 656-3931 or to Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS. (Submitted)
Money to burn: burglars torch North Saanich high school ATM

Police dogs searched the exterior and interior of the school after early morning break-and-enter

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforcement, conservation missions

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

Most Read