Despite taking criticism for the Island Highway upgrades, the city has won an award for its marketing of the project.
The city’s efforts in communicating progress along Highway 19A are being recognized through one of the largest public relation competitions in the world.
The city is the winner of a MarCom Gold Award for consistently sharing information as the project went along.
The MarCom Awards is an international creative competition that recognizes outstanding achievement by marketing and communication professionals, according to a MarCom news release.
Mayor Charlie Cornfield said at Tuesday’s council meeting that Marci Hotsenpiller of ZincPR was hired by the city to develop a communication plan to keep the community informed of progress made in not only the Highway 19A upgrade project, but also the airport runway extension project, for about 18 months.
Cornfield said it was “all in an effort to provide timely and clear information to the public, and help residents know what to expect during construction, with a goal of minimizing disruptions and share information about the benefits of the (highway) project.”
The city submitted samples of communications work on both projects for consideration in the MarCom Awards competition.
Campbell River was up against more than 6,000 entries from throughout Canada, the United States and several other countries.
According to a letter from MarCom, approximately 18 per cent of the 6,000-plus entries were recognized at the gold level this year.
The city will receive an official award certificate in about six weeks, Cornfield said Tuesday.
The team put together advertisements, newsletters and webpages and co-ordinated information distribution to provide timely, clear, understandable and complete project information to the public and news media and to help prevent or deal with project delays, Cornfield said.
Still, despite the publicity, the city faced some criticism once the highway was re-opened to traffic.
Reid Wharton, president of the local fire fighters union, said in April that the highway is too narrow for fire trucks to safely pass at high speeds in emergency situations.
The city put the highway to the test at a grand opening weeks later. The fire tanker was able to pass a city truck, but Wharton said it was a tight squeeze and the fire truck wasn’t speeding, with lights flashing and sirens wailing.
Cornfield has always maintained there is nothing wrong with the highway.