Diversity a unique feature of Campbellton

One of the challenges facing the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association is how best to reflect the extreme diversity of interests in its relatively small share of the land in Campbell River.

A drive around Campbellton can be done in only a few minutes but it will reveal a very wide range of activities and occupants from heavy manufacturing through light manufacturing to home-made art, many large forest service companies, several major tire stores and hardware stores, quite a few varied retail and commercial businesses, several car dealers and gas stations, recreation and fitness facilities, printing and signs, telecommunications, hotels and motels, tourism, and more - including one church (Vineyard).

One major theme amongst Campbellton businesses is home furnishings, with several large furniture and appliance stores in the area as well as storage and recycling businesses, an auction, the ReStore on Willow (featuring used goods and materials) and a thrift store (Salvation Army on Homewood). Among others!

One of the most important and perhaps least-known among the area's businesses is York Machine Shop Ltd. at 1641 17th Avenue, which employs about 35 people producing portable boring machines and other specialty products for customers throughout the United States and around the world.

Another notable manufacturer is Daigle Welding & Marine, which specializes in aluminum products and is gaining a wide reputation for its service patrol boats. It's technically located just outside Campbellton because it's across the river at 2177 Island Highway but it still is part of the "Campbellton" trading area, as are several other major businesses there such as E & B Helicopters Ltd.

Perhaps surprisingly for a supposedly small urban area there also is a lot of agriculture and food activity in and around Campbellton, including numerous restaurants (featured in last week's column), the offices of some marine-related companies (Marine Biological Consulting), a world-class fish hatchery for wild fish stocks (on the Quinsam River), a major grocery store (Walmart), the new community garden on 15th near Petersen, the city's food bank and businesses serving those industries and activities.

One of the more interesting of the food-related industries is HYGRO Gardening Supplies Inc., at 1791 Tamarac Street, which offers a large supply of indoor and outdoor gardening products including locally-made specialty nutrients for general, organic and hydroponic applications. It for example is a supplier to and supporter of the community garden.

And of course there are people of many types too, from residents of high-end homes along the river and on the hill overlooking it all to small older homes needing renewal, some social housing, people living year-round in campsites and sadly some living hard in bushes.

All that does not make for an idyllic community but it is getting better and economically stronger and more populated - especially with B.C. Hydro's billion-dollar multi-year John Hart Generating Station Renewal Project now underway, which has seen the Aecon and SNC-Lavalin joint venture (ASL-JV) take over the former Campbellton school site and turn it into a major construction works yard.

Did we forget to mention the new world-class Elk Falls Suspension Bridge too? Well no, and nor did we mention the work to renew public access to the shores of the Campbell River. There's just too much going on to mention all at once.

Don't forget to datebook the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association's annual general meeting on Jan. 13 at 6 p.m. at the Eagles Hall (yet another notable feature in Campbellton, which is near the proposed new entrance feature…..