What a crushing disappointment the city-owned property at the Discovery Harbour Marina has become. Of all the botched-up jobs the city has been accused of, this is one issue where criticism is warranted.
How is it possible that a showcase property that was to become a “glittering jewel of the waterfront” – or whatever superlative you want to ascribe to it – that was to benefit the whole community looks now like it’s going to become another condo-retail mixed development to be sold to or rented by…who?
Can Campbell River handle more retail space? Are we supporting our existing businesses enough yet?
But that’s another issue.
The point here is this property was initially slated to become a community centre declaring to the world that Campbell River is a waterfront community proud of its historic connection to the ocean and capable of reaching great heights.
Ha! That initial community centre was defeated in a rancorous referendum process focussed on climbing municipal debt.
Subsequent attempts to build alternative concepts on the property were fought tooth and nail by one faction or another; who can forget the city council meeting stormed by anti-casino forces?
There was even talk of a new arena.
Of course, all this came in better economic times but that just attests to the missed opportunity.
Through it all, council after council buckled under the pressure or failed to show leadership of any kind. And this waterfront property sat idle and was whittled away until we have the useless sand lot standing as a testament to incompetence not just of our elected leaders but also of the citizenry who couldn’t come together and compromise on something that could benefit us all and to stand as a proud symbol of this community.
Now, it sits as a symbol, all right, but not one that reflects a positive light on us at all.
A mixed residential/retail space? Not good enough!