It’s been in the works for a long time, but the entrance feature for the Island Highway as it enters Campbellton is finally under construction.
It will feature a Beaver floatplane perched atop a 25-foot column, welcoming visitors to the city as they come down the hill into the north end of town.
The project was initially approved by the City of Campbell River in early 2017, pending approval from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. As it moved along, it got bogged down in paperwork and permitting but as the years went by, the project continued to slowly inch forward, according to Brian Shaw of the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association, who is spearheading the project and never took his eyes off the prize.
“We managed to get through all the permitting on the site now, and we’re at the stage where they’ve dug the foundation out and they’re putting in rebar and expect to put in the concrete for the base any day now,” Shaw says. “It’s going to be quite the thing. It’s going to be a 25-foot pedestal – which has already been made up – and then a Beaver floatplane perched on top, which they’re working on now.”
They’re still a little short on funds and a little short on manpower to complete the work, however.
“We’ll be doing some fundraising again over the next little while,” Shaw says, “and I know Bill (Alder, Sealand Aviation) needs a few hands over there to do work on the plane itself.”
Alder says people don’t even need any kind of technical training to help out. He just needs a few extra hands.
“We need somebody to pump out the floats we’ve got down on the spit and bring them up here so we can modify them, clean them up and get them painted, that kind of stuff,” Alder says. “That would be a big job for a few people to do, but it would be easy to do with our supervision. And once we have the floats here, there will be lots of things to do on them, but we can give somebody a little direction and away they go. It’s not high-skill demanding. We’re not building an actual airplane here. It doesn’t need to fly. It’s just some bolts and a hammer.”
In terms of the remaining timeline, Shaw says he’s hopeful they can see the project complete by the end of the year, should they be able to gather the funds and people needed.
“Ideally, we’d have it up by Christmas time, but we’ll see,” Shaw says.
Anyone interested in helping out can contact Shaw directly at 250-287-8807, project manager Jonathan Calderwood at 250-287-8558 or Alder at 250-287-6259.