This conceptual drawing shows the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association’s potential plans to establish a pocket park at the end of Spruce Street and create access to the Campbell River.

New park could provide river access

A Campbellton improvement group wants to establish a small park at the end of Spruce Street that would provide access to the river

A Campbellton improvement group wants to establish a small park at the end of Spruce Street that would provide access to the river.

Consultant Ross Sharp told city council at its Monday meeting that the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association would like to convert the street right of way into a pocket park.

Sharp said the site, as it touches the Campbell River, was intensely studied by his consulting firm in a Myrt Thompson Trail and Campbellton River Access Feasibility Study and was found to be the ideal candidate.

“No doubt it was one of the easiest sites to deal with, being a city street right of way and other than for a hedge of invasive blackberry bushes, access to and visibility of the river was doable,” Sharp said.

The Campbellton Neighbourhood Association has been trying for the last four years to establish access to the Campbell River.

Sharp said the Spruce Street site could be easily developed to fit that bill.

“The Myrt study concluded that the Spruce Street row was the ideal spot to construct a pocket park…essentially a bench under the tree, replacing the blackberry with non-invasive species that are compatible with the river ecosystem,” Sharp said.

He said the project could incorporate the city’s landmark memorial bench program and therefore be done at minimal cost.

“We’re attempting to keep it very frugal,” Sharp said. “We’re trying to do something very simple here. Very doable.”

Sharp said the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association would like to see the city take the project on.

“It would be a beginning to see how something could be easily improved and provide accessibility to the river,” Sharp said. “This is very simple and doable we think.”

Coun. Larry Samson thanked the Campbellton group for bringing the project forward.

“I think sometimes when we can take the worst piece of property and make it better, it catches on and spurs on the neighbourhood,” he said.

Mayor Andy Adams asked whether the Campbellton group would chip in financially for the project, possibly through its annual $10,000 beautification grant that the city allots each year to the city’s four business improvement groups.

Brian Shaw of the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association said such an investment could be considered but he stressed that it would not be a big expense to the city.

“Certainly preliminary reviews on the amount required to develop it are conservative. It’s not a big project at all,” Shaw said.

“It fully engages the community for a very small cost but we’re entertained by the idea. Whatever it takes.”

Sharp said the group hopes the park could be created by spring of 2017.

City council deferred making a decision on providing funding for the park until its 2017 budget planning sessions, scheduled for early December.

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