Urban geography students from Vancouver Island University envision a whole new identity for Campbellton if the motivation and resources are there to make some minor – and some major – changes.
Keltie Chamberlain, an urban geographer research student from VIU, has been studying Campbellton for more than two years and has been instrumental in developing a Campbellton Action Plan.
She told council at its May 11 meeting that she focused her attention on Main Street, the stretch of Highway 19A between Tamarac and Maple streets, as well as on the river project.
Chamberlain suggested that creating access to the Campbell River, which runs behind the businesses along Campbellton’s Main Street, should be a top priority.
“The concept plan is for the end of Maple Street, to include parking with decorative barriers, wildlife viewing platforms, interpretive signs, lighting, and a gateway,” Chamberlain said.
“The area can be used for public access and recreation and it creates an amenity for the neighbourhood as well as promoting healthy communities.
“These spaces are ones which will build on the identity and character of the river.”
The Campbellton Neighbourhood Association, a group of Campbellton residents and businesses working to improve the area, has worked in tandem with the VIU students and is proposing to install five different viewing platforms along the river to make it accessible to tourists and Campbell River residents.
There are currently no view points along the south shore of the Campbell River between the end of the Myrt Thompson Trail and the logging bridge upriver.
The vision is to develop a small park area off the road near River Sportsman and the bridge that connects Campbellton with northern Campbell River.
The Campbellton Neighbourhood Association is also looking at developing and clearing out the area near the end of Maple Street and the Myrt Thompson Trail.
While the river project has been gaining traction with both the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association and the VIU students, there are also other ideas for revitalizing the northern end of the city.
Chamberlain said the Campbellton Action Plan also includes ideas for how to spruce up Main Street (aka Highway 19A).
“We found the challenges on Main Street are both aesthetic and safety,” Chamberlain said. “We found that poles are in strange spots and there’s a lack of connectivity for pedestrians.”
The students propose moving the utility lines and wires underground, adding crosswalks and sidewalks.
Cheaper suggestions to improve the area include: murals, awnings on store fronts, street planting, painting the utility poles, brightly painted crosswalks, and uniquely shaped bike racks.
Coun. Ron Kerr said he was pleased to see the work that’s gone into studying the neighbourhood.
“I think the partnership with the CNA (Campbellton Neighbourhood Association) has been really positive and I think there’s a bright future for them,” Kerr said.
Mayor Andy Adams agreed.
“It’s been a great partnership and we hope you continue the work in our community that you developed.”