Tourism looks promising for Campbellton in 2016
What will Campbellton look like at this time next year?
Perhaps a better question would be "what could it be like if we worked harder at improving it?"
The point is that Campbellton can become whatever the neighbourhood's residents and businesses choose to make of it - within City zoning rules of course. Or with Council permission to vary those rules . . . .
As we've mentioned several times before in this space, there are moves afoot to make many changes in Campbellton in months and years ahead, from major structural ones such as improving public access to the river front to small but still important changes such as improving the appearances of the dozen or so old community flower boxes scattered around the commercial core of Campbellton.
One of the latest changes is confirmation from city officials that the swing sets in the park on 15th Avenue near Petersen will be removed in coming weeks and be replaced nearby with a new set of swings of a type yet to be selected but which when installed next spring will leave room for the new Campbellton Community Garden to install a second set of garden plots.
That change may not deserve to be Page 1 news but it is important insofar as it's another step towards improved food security for Campbell River, a community that now produces less than one per cent of the food its residents and visitors now consume. Plus it will increase opportunities for more gardeners to participate and thereby strengthen community relationships.
Three key projects
The improved access to the river at several locations will be the subject of a public policy process in 2016, especially regarding proposed improvements to the Myrt Thompson Trail, notably adding a viewing tower, and they have potential to be a boon to tourism and recreation in the area.
A similar process will begin next year on Nunns Creek Park, with the city's new budget including provisions to begin upgrading the playing fields and logger-sports venues there and do environment and ecology studies of the bush areas along the creek - which again will tend to boost tourism.
And third but not least will be a major push to raise funds and other supports for the development of an "entrance feature" on 14th Avenue between the north and south-bound lanes of the new Island Highway; it will include a restored Beaver float plane mounted on a pedestal near a yet-to-be built parking and rest area intended to get tourists and other travellers to stop for a break rather than just driving straight through town without considering what Campbell River has to offer in terms of amenities, attractions and commercial services.
All three of those initiatives involve boosting the City's appeal to tourists, first as a destination in its own right but if not that then at least become better known as a good place for travellers to stop and visit for a range of purposes, not only for gas and snacks but also for culture and entertainment and a very wide range of supplies and services.
The past summer was one of the best tourist seasons in many years for local attractions, aided especially by the low exchange rate of the Canadian dollar as well as by other factors such as the opening of the new Elk Falls Suspension Bridge, and 2016 looks sure to become an even better year for tourism with the C$ down even more, thus attracting both more Americans coming for bargains and more Canadians who can't afford to go to the States.
That means businesses in Campbellton in particular and in Campbell River generally should be planning now to do more to promote themselves to tourists if they have not already done so.
The Campbellton Neighbourhood Association will have some new looks too in the new year, starting with a website now under construction that soon will feature a link to the CNA's recently-completed documentary film on the making of the community garden.
CNA AGM Jan. 13
It will be a new start for the CNA's executive too, with the CNA's annual general meeting set for Jan. 13 evening at the Eagles Hall, which appropriately is adjacent to the proposed entrance feature.
The meeting is open to any and all interested persons and will begin with doors open around 5 p.m.