There’s a new landmark going up in downtown Campbell River that may have thus far gone unnoticed by many.
They’re not making a big show about it – as they traditionally celebrate new buildings upon their completion – but the Campbell River Indian Band is hoping their new office building, which will be located behind Whitespot off the south side of 16th Avenue, will be “another anchor building for Campbell River,” according to band manager Ken Cooper.
Cooper said that over the past few years it was becoming increasingly obvious that the current office facilities were going to be unable to effectively serve the needs of the community and support the program offerings available and in development.
So in the summer of 2013, band council began exploring options for where would be best to situate a new building, and which services it would house.
Once possible locations were chosen, a community meeting was held to discuss the options and get input and feedback from the community.
At that meeting 75 per cent of those in attendance agreed the 16th Avenue location was the best option, that the building should have a traditional First Nations feel rather than that of a modern office building, and that it should be for administration as opposed to service offerings.
This means that the current facility will be renovated to house and expand the Kwanwatsi pre-school, and the main service hub for the community will still be centred around the Thunderbird Hall area.
Band administration, treaty negotiation, land code and economic development issues and offices will be housed in the new facility.
Because the band has its own land code, it didn’t need to go through the processes that most large projects in the area need to engage in, such as design proposals being vetted by city or municipal councils, rezoning applications or infrastructure upgrades requiring public funds. Cooper did say, however, that the band and the city have a very positive and collaborative relationship right now, and they are working together effectively to ensure things like aesthetics and infrastructure issues are addressed in a synergistic manner alongside council.
“We’re hoping that this facility will be another example of the band’s commitment to the Campbell River community, and the flourishing of that community,” Cooper said, adding that they are very proud of the contributions they have made and continue to develop, especially in terms of economic development, such as bringing Walmart and Home Depot to town and Discovery Harbour and Marina.