Mixed uses is the nature of Campbellton

The unique mixed-use nature of the Campbellton neighbourhood has come to the fore again via some disparate business events.

The importance of manufacturing to a healthy economy - which is done by numerous businesses in or near the Campbellton area - was emphasized anew at the 2015 State of the Island Economic Summit Oct. 28-29 in Nanaimo's impressive Vancouver Island Conference Centre.

About a dozen city and business officials from Campbell River attended the ninth annual event and while only a few of the delegates were associated directly with Campbellton one of the key themes of the event was that manufacturing provides the much-needed high-paying jobs that come from value-added activities, especially in forestry-related manufacturing businesses - and such businesses are arguably the dominant activity in Campbellton too, certainly historically in production and also presently in services.

Whether it is local tire companies selling big tires for logging trucks or consulting companies advising on how to manage cutblocks, forestry is a major employer in Campbellton much moreso than in say the downtown and Willow Point areas where the emphasis is on retail and commercial businesses such as in banking, real estate, groceries and of course services such as City Hall and the community centre.

That industrial orientation of Campbellton was likely to be evident anew in the Business Walk event planned for Wednesday (Nov. 4) by the Campbell River Chamber of Commerce in which business and political leaders were to go door to door interviewing business operators about the issues they face and what they think could and should be done about them. Interestingly, the present chair of the chamber, Corby Lamb, is the owner-operator of Campbellton-based Capacity Forest Management Ltd., which specializes in managing forest licences for First Nations.

Campbellton Neighbourhood Association chair Brian Shaw and other CNA officials were planning to participate in the walk and were likely to learn anew that Campbellton's unique blend of industrial, commercial and residential activities can sometimes conflict and sometimes extra efforts are needed to help them co-exist as well as possible.

Those conflicts between users have been noticed in the current City and CNA study of ways public access to the Campbell River riverside could be improved, with a few locations noted where improved recreational access could conflict with local residents' desires for privacy; there also was some of that seen with the CNA's development of the community garden on 15th Avenue near Petersen, it could become a factor in the development of social housing in the area and it may be a factor in future plans for Haig-Brown House (e.g. more parking!), among others.

Those competing interests also illustrate why the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association is neither mainly a residents' association (though it does often fight for residents' needs such as for better lighting and pedestrian safety) and nor is it seeking to become a registered business improvement area (BIA) (though the CNA does do some business advocacy too). Instead the CNA has become a blend of those over-lapping and sometimes competing interests, which simply reflects the reality of the area.

And while some people on both sides of the resident and business divides sometimes question that mix, the benefits of it were clearly evident when a variety of forest industry people and businesses were instrumental in helping to finance and construct the successful community garden.

The CNA's lobbying also was instrumental in convincing the City to undertake the recently-completed traffic upgrades on the Petersen Road hill, which now make it much safer for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists - thank you City Hall!!

The future of Campbellton and its Neighbourhood Association will depend on whatever people make it become, with everyone welcome to participate in the CNA's annual meeting in January at a location yet to be determined.

Feedback is welcome to Brian Shaw at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 250-287-8807.