Improved access needed along Campbell River

By Brian Shaw, Chair

Campbellton Neighbourhood Association

This summer salmon will return again to the Campbell and Quinsam Rivers and with them will come thousands of fishermen who will get to the river banks and wade in.

They’re not the only ones either. Add snorkelers, tubers, kayakers, rafters and many others - to the point it will quite often become a free-for-all.

Those visitors using the river waters in ever greater numbers will bring a great source of tourism dollars to Campbell River, but what are we doing to accommodate them?

The fact is that right now there are no easy ways for people to access or view the Campbell on the east side of the logging bridge and on the south and west sides entrance points are minimal, especially in the Campbellton area.

Fisher people who do access the river do so with great difficulty and parking at busy times is impossible.  And you can imagine the kind of refuse that is left along our supposedly pristine river.

The City of Campbell River is starting to accommodate the growing number of river visitors by putting in a portable toilet this year, which is a welcome step in the right direction, but more planning is needed to properly develop this amazing resource.

Step number one is to develop a working plan and to that end the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association is working with the City to identify changes that will create a better situation for everyone, including preserving the natural attributes for the fish.

Among the CNA’s projects is an extensive feasibility study on creating esthetic viewing platforms and fishing piers along with garbage collection, benches and proper parking.

The first such site probably will be between the highway bridges where there are several large vacant lots owned by the City and the Province that are now fenced off from the riverbank but there also are several other good potential access sites everywhere along the Campbell River.

With proper management of our “namesake” heritage river that encourages recreational use but balances those with the need to maintain a pristine habitat we can look forward to improved economic opportunities for Campbellton and because of that, improved quality of life for its residents.

We can make this annual salmon-run event a grand and festive opportunity for visitors and residents alike or we can just muddle along. What would you like to see? Feedback welcome to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Community garden build underway

Thanks to the significant effort of so many, the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association is now in a position to rent out the first 16 garden plots filled with soil from Brymik Earth Works.

Thanks to all the volunteers who came out today. Special thanks to Strategic Engineering; their Fire Crew came out and rocked it and to Dave Donaldson of D.A.D.S. Home & Renovation!. Outstanding work, couldn’t have done it without you!

Thanks to our major sponsors:

Capital Power, Bailey Western Star and Mainstream Biological.

Lunch BBQ sponsors:

HUB Insurance and Walmart.

The yellow cedar was donated by Interfor, transported by Fearless Log Salvage and Probyn Log and milled by Jess @ White’s Mill and the Deer fencing thanks to Shar-Kare.

We’re still banging boxes together so come on down!

Applications for a garden bed is now available at Quality Stoves, $45 per year (for insurance). Let’s get these beds occupied and growing!


By Brian Shaw

Chair, Campbellton Neighbourhood Association

Have you ever wondered why there’s so much interest in Campbellton currently? It’s about Place-Making.

Campbell River is a beautiful city with great potential. Yet in every community you can always find “the old part of town” and guess where that is? Campbellton!

Nevertheless it’s that part of our City that more and more visitors are seeing first and I ask you, “What type of impression are we giving them?”

It’s up to the City’s residents, businesses and leadership to help Campbellton evolve for what it needs to become.

Wikipedia defines place-making as a multifaceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. Its intent is to create places that promote people’s health, happiness and well-being.

That’s been the focus of the Campbellton Neighborhood Association for the last four years. It’s evolved to focus on tools that will make the Village a much nicer place to be. Projects like Rescuing the River, the entrance feature to Campbell River, improvements to the streets for traffic calming, pedestrian and bicycle safety and street beautification are starting to have a positive affect on Campbellton’s image.  It’s truly amazing to see the ongoing changes.  The latest is the construction of the Community Garden on 15th Ave.

To see the vision of the CNA make sure you attend the community information meeting at Campbellton Park at 12 noon this Saturday coming, the 13th of June.

And if you want to be part of that garden change too you can bring a spade to the Park starting at 8 a.m.

Our Community needs your help too.

Campbellton Neighbourhood launches community garden

The Campbellton Neighbourhood Association on Saturday June 13 will hold a dual-purpose community information meeting and building party at the Community Garden site at 1741 15th Ave. (between Petersen and Redwood Streets).

The event begins Saturday morning with a construction party to start assembling the up to 18 planting boxes of approximately 20 feet by 4 feet and then filling them with soil, as well as erecting a secure fence around them and connecting a water line.

At noon there will be a barbecue and at 1 p.m. a community meeting will be held to provide local residents and other interested people with opportunities to ask questions about the CNA’s plans, such as how to rent one of the garden plots, how access to the garden site will be controlled and what other projects the CNA has underway and planned, such as improving public access to the riverfront, erecting 40 artistic banners, beautifying the downtown area and adding an entrance feature near 14th and Tamarac as a tourist attraction.

“The CNA canvassed the community before obtaining city approval for the garden project but we still welcome questions and input about the project from local people,” said CNA chair Brian Shaw, noting there will be a tent available at the site in case it is raining or too sunny.

Some of the garden plots have already been reserved but others are still available. The fee of $45 per plot per season covers CNA costs, which include purchasing the insurance required by the city for garden participants. The CNA would also appreciate donations of related goods and services, especially a lockable shed, gardening tools, fencing material, a lockable gate and any other gardening supplies.

The Campbellton Neighbourhood Association is a registered not-for-profit society managed by a board of volunteers. Unlike Business Improvement Areas, it is open to both business operators and local residents. For further information contact Brian Shaw at 250-287-8807 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Model train exhibit could be future tourist attraction

By John Twigg

trainLet's fast forward to the Spring of 2019 and have a look at what is going on in and around Campbellton, the original commercial base of the City of Campbell River that now is beginning an ambitious urban renewal program.

In the election of November 2018 the City will have elected a new council and by March 2019 the councillors will have finished a new budget that will more or less complete the implementation of several major renewal initiatives begun by the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association way back in 2015.

There will be several new viewing platforms installed along the southwest shores of the Campbell River and proving popular with tourists, they'll connect to an upgraded version of the scenic Myrt Thompson Trail and nearby the Wei Wai Kum First Nation (aka Campbell RIver Indian Band) will be developing a residential-commercial project on the now-vacant lands south of the Quinsam Hotel.

Elsewhere the so-called entrance feature project at 14th Avenue and Tamarack Street (near the Eagles hall) probably will have been completed with a splashy ribbon-cutting just before the election, in which a reconstructed simulation of a Beaver float plane will have been erected on a pedestal and surrounded by parking spots for tourists, some picnic tables and probably other amenities to induce highway travellers to stop and take a break.

By then there also could be progress on installing a new visitor information facility on the vacant lots near the Tamarack Street bridge and the "old" Island Highway that now is the main street of Campbellton's commercial core, and hopefully that main street will have been refurbished too.

So what would be next to do? What could Campbellton and Campbell River do to further revitalize the hundred-year-old neighbourhood? How about another new tourist attraction that also would celebrate its history, namely a salute to the era of railroad logging!

The Campbell River region has a relatively long history with the logging industry, with numerous camps active from the 1880s and onward and even to this day there are a variety of forestry-based businesses based in Campbellton, but what many younger people may not realize is that railway trains were integral to their operations until about the 1950s when finally trucks took over.

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Robbie Burns day

A special treat for me every year this time of year is Robbie Burns day, and researching his story this year introduced me to our sister city of Campbelton, Scotland. It was the birthplace of Margaret Campbell or “Highland Mary” an old love of Burns back in the 1780’s.

Campbelton was an important shipbuilding and fishing port and is one of five areas in Scotland categorized as a “distinct malt whisky producing region”; home to the Campbellton single malts. At one point it had over 30 distilleries and proclaimed itself the whisky capital of the world. (Interesting parallel) Only 3 active distilleries remain there today.

Here in our little village you will find parallels of that sort. You will find 15 automobile, truck, RV, motorcycle and trailer dealerships, 14 machine shop metal fabricators and welding shops, 13 independent auto repair shops, and a whole host of over 300 businesses of all shapes and sizes.

It is truly the economic engine of the City of Campbell River. Not exactly the same as Cambelton, Scotland, but distilleries are starting to pop up!

On another note
If you have an interest in starting a community garden, find out what’s involved. Videos and presentations from representatives of three successful community gardens, Laughing Willow, Anglican Church Garden and the Campbellton Neighbourhood Community Garden. You’ll learn about City park spaces available for community gardens; what’s involved in setting up a community garden, including making an application; budgeting and viewing sample garden agreements.
WHEN: Mon Feb 15 7-8:30
WHERE: Campbell River Community Centre Room 2
NOTE: Refreshments will be served
250-286-1161 OR 250-923-7911.

Air photos of Campbell River

January 7, 2016
Air photo history map of Campbell River now available on City website

The City of Campbell River is launching a new air photo history webmap, capturing images of the community’s development for more than 65 years.

This webmap includes photos starting from 1950 with additional images before 1980, and more from 1994, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2012 and 2014.

“The catalyst for this project was the continuing requests from the public for old maps of Campbell River. Since it’s very interesting to see how the community has changed over time, making these easily available online was a logical next step,” says Warren Kalyn, the City’s information technology manager.


The Quinnie is back!

Campton quinieLike the proverbial cat that came back, many people thought the vaunted Quinsam Hotel was a goner when it was shut down in May but in September the historic pub re-opened under new operators, leaseholder Brian Welz and manager Fred Mohammed, both from Port Alberni and both with lengthy experience as hoteliers in B.C.

The reopened pub is much the same as it was before and the return of the popular venue for live music was widely welcomed by performers. A Campbellton-based band, the Raincoast Rollers featuring singer-guitarist Rich Hagensen, had two full-house nights there on Dec. 18 and 19, 2015.

The mighty Quinsam has been an entertainment icon at the southern entrance to Campbellton since 1917 until its current owners, the We Wai Kai (Cape Mudge) First Nation, who bought it in 2007 but found it had a financial squeeze after its off-sales liquor licence was moved in 2013 to the band's Quinsam Crossing development.

The 22-room hotel was under construction when Prohibition was declared but was bought in 1923 by reputed ex-bootlegger Jim English, who remained its owner until 1961, after which a series of owners expanded it and added what became its signature entertainment component.