Goal is to become a destination

This is in reply to our Mayor Charlie Cornfield on the front page of the March 30 edition of the Campbell River Mirror.

Once again we see him beating that dead horse in regards to Campbell River being the Salmon Capital of the World. I know many of us have experienced the great fishing of Port Alberni, Port Hardy, Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert and locations of Alaska where they deserve that title of being the Salmon Capital of the World.

I know he is trying to increase visitation to our city, and I commend him for his efforts, but he must do as many Campbell River businesses have done and diversify. Case in point being the tour boat industry of our city. Many boats conduct water taxi service, grizzly bear tours, whale watching excursions, fish farm tours and some also conduct sport fishing charters. This type of diversity generates business from a broad range of clients, thus increasing your business. If a 12-passenger boat solely relied on one product, such as whale watching and tried to sustain their operations in this competitive field, they would more than likely fail.

Campbell River tends to be a washroom stop on two Island highways between destination centers such as Telegraph Cove, Port Hardy, Tofino, Nanaimo, and Victoria. Many of the businesses in our city rely upon people coming to spend some time utilizing the products and services available during their vacations that we have to offer. Our ultimate goal is to become a destination sought by many throughout the world, as is the case with Tofino.

Flogging that dead horse by trying to make us the Salmon Capital of the World is not going to achieve this on its own in this day and age. We need to emphasize that Campbell River is the Southern Gateway to the Orca Realm of Johnston Strait. We need to let the world know that we are the doorway to the southern reaches of The Great Bear Rain Forest. I believe if we have a Salmon Festival that puts emphasis on the grizzly bears and orcas, coupled with the rich aboriginal cultural component, we will attract more people to come here. As far as I am concerned, marketing our city as being the Salmon Capital of the World is false advertising, and if you do this in the tourism industry it will haunt you with dissatisfied customers, where word of mouth shall decrease one’s bookings in the future. One must also keep in mind that times have changed where Bubba and the boys going fishing have changed to where the females of the household are now deciding how the vacation dollars are going to be spent – and they want unique experiences over fish.

I know one thing for sure, if I want exceptional salmon fishing for Tyees, I am off the Moutcha Bay at the end of August. So if Charlie and others want to see our city become the Salmon Capital of the World, well maybe you should be speaking to the First Nations about getting Ocean Ranching going in the Campbell and Quinsam River systems. When the waters surrounding our city and at the mouth of the Campbell River are teaming with thousands of Tyees, as was the case long ago, then we will be in the running for being The Salmon Capital Of the World. Until then, let us educate the world on just how unique Campbell River is with the other regional draws that we are the gateway to.

Tom Sewid

Aboriginal Adventures Canada