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Floatplane could be welcoming drivers to Campbell River by the end of the year

A floatplane entrance feature for Campbellton could be ready to go this year
Alistair Taylor/Campbell River Mirror file photo Have fuselage, will travel. Acting Mayor Ron Kerr, Bill Alder of Sealand Aviation and Jonathan Calderwood and Brian Shaw of the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association pose with a fuselage donated by Sealand for a floatplane entrance feature to Campbell River back in February.

A Beaver floatplane could be welcoming motorists into the city’s north end by the end of the year.

Council, at its Monday meeting, endorsed the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association’s proposal to proceed with installing the entrance feature as soon as possible, pending approval from the province’s ministry of transportation and infrastructure.

Brian Shaw, chair of the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association which has been diligently working for years on an array of projects aimed at sprucing up and reviving the northern end of the city, said the floatplane should be ready to go by year’s end.

“Currently, the work on the airplane is being conducted by Sealand,” Shaw said.

Bill Alder and Nancy Marshall of Sealand Aviation are donating a complete Beaver floatplane, as well as all of the necessary engineering for a pedestal that the floatplane will rest on. The plane will sit on a concrete platform and pylon to hold it up in the air in the greenspace between the lanes of Highway 19 as it comes down the hill into Campbellton at 14th Avenue.

Shaw said that Alder “expects that the Beaver will be ready by the end of this year” and the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association intends to split the project up into two phases in order to get the floatplane up as quickly as possible.

Because the ministry of transportation has imposed several stipulations on the project surrounding public safety, Shaw said the plan is to first install the seaplane with no public access.

Phase two would then see regulatory signage posted, along with information about the project and the historical significance of floatplanes in the region, as well as creating site access off of 14th Avenue with only right turns in and out. A parking lot is also in the works, as are picnic benches and fencing around the perimeter of the greenspace, as directed by the province.

Shaw said that once public access has been secured, it will be a place where people can stop and take pictures with the floatplane.

“It will be an exceptional feature,” Shaw said two years ago when the concept was presented to city council.

Now, Shaw is asking council to consider accepting the floatplane as a gift to the city once it’s installed and to have city staff assist in negotiating with the ministry of transportation to confirm the final requirements for phase two and in preparing a budget estimate for those works.

Council, for its part, supports the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association proceeding with phase one, but referred the association’s other asks to council’s 2018 financial plan discussions at the end of the year.