Film on Campbellton Community Garden drew full house

Every seat was full when the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association's new documentary film on its community garden was shown for the first time last week in Campbellton.

Though several other major events were on in town last Tuesday (Dec. 1), still about 40 people attended at the Beijing House Restaurant to watch two screenings of a 27-minute video record of how the 22-bed organic garden was conceived, built very quickly with donated material and labour,  planted relatively late in the growing season (early June) and still was harvested throughout the summer and on into a celebration party in October - thanks to the unusually warm and dry summer weather. Indeed the film ends with a demonstration by local plant nutritionist Christa Fernau of Hygro Gardening Supplies of how such garden plots of root vegetables can be harvested year-round if they are covered by a mulch such as straw, with crops such as beets even producing some edible greens. (Another winter-hardy green is kale, also becoming more popular for its health benefits.)

That subtle point is one of the key aspects of why Campbell River City Council and city officials decided to significantly support setting up the Campbellton Community Garden on a vacant portion of city-owned parks land on 15th Avenue near Petersen: it helps move the City towards the improved food self-sufficiency goal in its Sustainable Official Community Plan.

That is important because the City at present produces only about one per cent of the food it now consumes - a point brought out in the film and reiterated at the film premiere because global climate, economic and political trends if continued could soon lead to food shortages even in prosperous areas like Vancouver Island. [Fishing out the local river would not be an ideal long-term solution!]

Many ancillary benefits

However there are numerous other benefits of having more such gardens in all communities and neighbourhoods, such as improved friendliness and less crime, which also are discussed in the film.

The film features a series of interviews with people involved in food policy and garden development; it was created by local film-maker Mark Job and assisted by CNA secretary John Twigg and lead gardener Ann Hazlett, a Campbellton resident who originally conceived the film idea as an entry into a contest sponsored by B.C. Hydro. The film, which took more than three months to complete, was financially enabled by substantial donations from several leading Campbellton-based businesses including CNA chair Brian Shaw and CNA director Ted Arbour, business proprietors Corby Lamb and Christa Fernau, Realtor Gary Jones and Quinsam Hotel manager Fred Mohammed plus The Mirror's Dave Hamilton and Beijing House proprietors Eric Zhao and Cherry Che.

The final edited version of the film will be shown at the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association's annual general meeting in January plus at other venues yet to be determined and eventually it will be posted on the CNA's forthcoming website that now is under construction thanks to a recent grant-in-aid to the CNA from the City of Campbell River.

Call for new gardeners

Meanwhile the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association is calling for expressions of interest from potential gardeners in the yet-to-be-constructed Phase 2 of its Campbellton Community Garden.

A recent board of directors decision affirmed that if at least 10 new gardeners place a deposit for a plot then the CNA will begin efforts towards constructing another 20 plots adjacent to the existing plots (which will entail relocating but not removing a set of playground swings now there).

Persons interested in trying to do an organic garden are welcome to participate even if they lack experience because as the film points out another major benefit is the improved ability to learn how to garden better too. Further information is available from Penny Roberts of Quality Stoves at 1720 Petersen, 250-286-6641 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Major structural changes proposed for Campbellton

Some major structural changes are in the works for some key facilities in and around the Campbellton neighbourhood.

A recent meeting of the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association board of directors was told that the final version has been completed and submitted to the City of a report considering what should be done regarding access to the Campbell River at several spots in Campbellton and especially along the Myrt Thompson Trail that runs along the river shore southeastward from the end of Maple Street.

A major study of the situation was done in recent months by planning consultants Pat Harrison and Ross Sharp, the latter also a CNA director and community garden activist. A public information meeting was held Oct. 15, which revealed the proposal includes a 30-feet-high viewing tower, and the resulting final report is expected to be presented to Council early in the new year.

Similarly, a proposal is in the works to formally begin developing a new entrance feature for the City of Campbell River on 14th Avenue between the north and southbound lanes of the ("new") Island Highway.

CNA chair Brian Shaw is preparing to brief City Council early in the new year on how the project could proceed with support from the City, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the CNA and other interested parties who could assist with fundraising and planning.

The proposal involves reconstructing the body of a Beaver float plane on the now-vacant parcel of land and combining that with parking spaces, a rest area and information for tourists.

Those are well in keeping with a public consultation also underway now regarding a proposed expansion of the city's Elk Falls Cemetery - also near "Campbellton" - for which an open house was held on Dec. 1.

And coming soon could be a new look into the Elk Falls Provincial Park Master Plan, which probably will need some updates now that it includes the new Elk Falls Suspension Bridge built by the Campbell River Rotary Club with major assistance from B.C. Hydro, the City of Campbell River, Island Coastal Ecoonomic Trust and many other players.

The gist there is that the addition of the amazing bridge across the chasm to the north side of the river raises the prospect of connecting it to some existing trails, but how and when remain to be seen.

Those all follow the less dramatic but still important completion recently by the City of traffic and pedestrian safety improvements on Petersen Hill and Petersen Rd.

The CNA board of directors passed a motion to formally thank Councillor Ron Kerr for his work in support of getting those Petersen improvements.

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