Opinion

Let’s start brainstorming Campbell River’s future

Alistair Taylor is Editor of the Campbell River Mirror. - Campbell River Mirror
Alistair Taylor is Editor of the Campbell River Mirror.
— image credit: Campbell River Mirror

It popped into my mind after rambling down the trail of a series of connected thoughts.

Where the meandering trail began, I’ve forgotten. I probably couldn’t have told you at the time my epiphany bubbled up through the simmering cauldron of  my conscious. But bubble it did, the thought bursting into the forefront of my mind, clearing a space. The thought was “What would your community look like, if you were king of the world?” Or something like that.

It made me stop and dwell on it. What would my ideal Campbell River look like? I didn’t decide to paint the picture the question asked for at that moment but set it aside for later. For, like...now.

Human nature is such that we gravitate towards tearing things down rather than expending the effort to build things up. Instead of complain, let’s encourage.

I know, I’m a radical.

This is a wish list and as such, it doesn’t balance the costs of the items on the list. That’s unrealistic, of course, but such is the nature of wishes. I will, however, try to keep it real.

One of my wishes illustrates this point perfectly because it has already been granted. I am happy that we don’t have a smokestack belching a gray plume into the air north of town. Of course, it came at the cost of high-paying jobs and a secure economic engine for the community. I’ll try not to make the rest of my list so depressing.

My first wish would be to see the Old Island Highway upgrade completed. Take what was done to Willow Point and stretch it to Hidden Harbour. What a spectacular waterfront we would have. The human contribution would if not match, then, at least, support the natural creation – i.e., the view.

Then I’d continue the Seawalk right to Discovery Harbour Mall. I’m sorry if you’re one of the handful of people whose house it would go in front of.

And while we’re at the waterfront, I would not stick condos and retail space on the Sandlot Formerly Known as the Six Acre Site. I wrote an editorial about that a couple weeks back. It should be a showcase public building or space. Make it a park if nothing else.

Our waterfront is one of our most valuable assets for liveability, attracting tourists and generating economic activity. The world’s greatest cities are revamping their waterfronts to be open to the public. Ours, for the most part, already is.

I like the fact that new large buildings are modernizing our downtown. It badly needs it. I am concerned about those two buildings north of Tyee Plaza boxing the downtown core in. Let’s try to avoid that. Tall buildings back towards the area around the old post office (where the Seymour Pacific building is going up).

If we’re going to divert retail space, let’s send it to Willow Point. Split it between there and downtown.

Add a few more seats to Strathcona Gardens. Bring in the BCHL. Keep the current Storm owners. They’re doing a good job.

Politically, let’s determine once and for all what a reasonable size for our municipal workforce is and support them. Hire good people, pay them well and unless you have an engineering degree, quit thinking you can do better.

Continuing on...take the time to appreciate and support a number of very special agencies in our community doing great things that reflect very well on us.

I’m talking about, Campbell River Association for Community Living, the Immigrant Welcome Centre, Greenways Land Trust and the Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences. Plus all the groups that foster salmon enhancement.

They’re not exactly unknown soldiers but the Rotary Clubs continue to do many great things for this community. As do the Campbell River Hospital Foundation and the Hospice Society. There are many others and so I’d better stop there.

Getting back to salmon enhancement, the idea has been circulated by people other than me but let me boost the idea of Campbell River via North Island College, becoming a centre for environmental restoration.

We’ve got some excellent practical experience here. Let’s show others how to do it.

Above all, let’s focus on making Campbell River a healthy and happy place to live – more things for families.

Sure our seniors are important but I really think the attendance we see at family activities indicates that this community needs more of it.

Oh, and get the Seniors Centre Society a place of their own. Bruno Fornika is so dedicated to the effort to get a seniors centre that he’s frequently  in our office trying to get me to run articles and letters advocating such a goal.

Each time he explains to me or my reporters, yet again, why a centre is necessary.

Hey, I’m all for the centre but there’s only so much a little old newspaper editor can do. You gotta work on the public and the city.

Well, I’m running out of space but you know what? I’d love to hear what your vision of a perfect Campbell River would be. Write it up, e-mail it to me (editor@campbellrivermirror.com).

 

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