Morgan Ostler - Rescue the River

Morgan OstlerMore than 50 years have passed since Morgan Ostler and her neighbour, Ian Baikie's mother Sandra, formed a group now called the SMASHING Grannies. They marched to Victoria to demand a start to construction of the Inland Island Hwy.

That was Morgan's first taste of community action. The lobby effort took 36 years. She hasn't stopped since then and Rotary has often been involved in some of her projects including:

  • Ÿ Salvation Army Soup Kitchen
  • Ÿ Buying a van for a young mother with two disabled    children
  • Ÿ The Museum development....and recently
  • Ÿ Broom-busting in the spring.

She retired as a city councillor in 2008 after serving two terms and since then is involved in Adopt A Hwy, the Campbellton Neighbourhood Assoc., C.R. Environmental Committee and is working on a series of history articles that will be archived at the Museum.

She recently received the Community Builders Award. Morgan is proud to tell you that she was Campbell River's first female Rotarian in 1994 and served for several years. She retired due to her late husband, Robert Ostler's long illness.

Morgan thanked the Club for the opportunity to talk about the next stage of the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association’s next development and ask for the club's modest financial participation.

The CNA’s actions in Campbellton completely parallel the history of the Willow Point renewal project that started with a grass roots movement headed by Fran Jones and Mark Frankland back in 1995.  Willow Point was the major entrance to Campbell River. It was a gritty little shopping area with few sidewalks, rotting telephone poles with wires dangling overhead and a waterfront shrouded from view with vines and alders. There was no directive signage and travelers would get out of their cars to ask "Is this Campbell River?"

It took almost 10 years for the vision of this determined Willow Point group to become a reality... Today we have a stunning southern entrance to Campbell River in which we all have intense pride.

Now let's look at the parallel. Campbellton, due to the completion of the Inland Island Highway, is now the northern gateway and major entrance to Campbell River. Google the location on your iPhone if you question that statement.
The visitor enters Campbellton through a gritty little industrial area with broken or obstructed sidewalks, aging telephone poles, wires dangling overhead, and a riverfront crowded from view with the vines and alder. There is no directive signage as one enters Highway 19A and visitors regularly get out of their cars to ask, "is this Campbell River", or, "where is City Hall".

I sat as a city councilor during the development of Willow Point and I witnessed a miracle. Now I am a director on the Campbellton Neighborhood Association and we are preparing for another.

We have achieved so much in the past four years including semi-professional mapping of assets and liabilities, a huge Community Garden, street lighting, welcoming banners on  poles and the support of the local community.
bridge banner

This Spring, thanks to a Campbellton business-person, shade trees will be planted next to sidewalks on the entrance to Campbellton. This is the first small step in what we envision as a tree-lined vista that will stretch along the highway entrance, on both sides, all the way to Maple Street and potentially beyond.

The University of Vancouver Island's Urban Geography post grad class, headed by Professor Dr. Pamela Shaw, meet regularly in Campbellton, which they have adopted as a study project... an exercise in transforming a community. Thankyou to our city council for providing funds to cover the cost of the students' many trips from Nanaimo.

One of the many projects of these University students have identified as creating "View Corridors" along the river edge from Maple Street to the Tamarack Bridge. Our Association is excited by the plan and has tagged the project "Rescue the River". City Council likes our plan and has pledged $15,000 if we can attract matching dollars in order to construct this Riverside Mini-Park.

We've chosen the River end of Spruce Street for the first project. Clearing the lot of vines, wood chunks and debris took volunteers several hours to hack their way to the river's edge. The property is a right of way. The vehicles in the pic are encroaching but we can work out a parking plan to accommodate them. Behind the debris and the bush, hidden from you is the waterway renowned throughout the world. Who knew? This is the world famous Campbell... a B.C. Heritage River.

Current Spruce Street Pic 2016

This is a conceptual design sketched by a geography student.

Spruce Street Spruceup Concept

With the support of the Rotary Club, just think what we could create together. It is four years since we established the CNA.  We have an enthusiastic membership and are committed for the years ahead to the development of Campbellton and an entrance to the city of which we can all be proud. We hope your Rotary Club will capture our vision of a renewed Campbellton and support us in the first stage of rescuing the river by matching the $15,000 the city has pledged.

This is a view of the mini Park when the project is complete.

Mini Park Concept Pic

Entrance Feature

Sealand Beaver CNA City


Sealand Aviation with Campbellton Neighbourhood Association, Sealand Aviation and City of Campbell River officials marking the announcement that Sealand Aviation will build a full-size replica of a Beaver floatplane out of spare parts it has on hand at the Campbell River Airport and donate it to the City for use as a tourist attraction on a pedestal in the CNA's proposed entrance feature development on 14th Avenue between the north and southbound lanes of Highway 19.  Photo taken February 20, 2017 with story published in the Mirror February 22, 2017.

Entrance Feature

Sealand Beaver fuselage


Sealand Aviation owner Bill Alder is surrounded by Councillor Ron Kerr, Jonathan Calderwood and Bryan Shaw of the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association in front of the fuselage for the soon to be constructed Beaver float plane entrance feature. Sealand Aviation is donating a complete aircraft. We expect the project to be completed at some time over the next year. The C.N.A. is very appreciative of such a generous donation to the City of Campbell River. The C.N.A. will now reach out to other corporate sponsors and foundations for their assistance with this project.