A brief history of the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association
Neighbourhood Association was created in 2011 when local businessmen Jim de Hart and Brian Shaw decided some things needed to be done to bring urban renewal to the historic but then-decaying area of Campbell River.
de Hart, Shaw and other business leaders assembled several dozen residents, business operators and other community activists from inside and outside Campbellton to begin working with city officials on issues such as graffiti and pedestrian safety.
At the instigation of former planner Ross Blackwell they also brought in students from Vancouver Island University's new urban geography program to develop a complete inventory of Campbellton's assets and liabilities, which prompted the City to soon add sidewalks on several residential streets as well as traffic and pedestrian crossing lights at the busy 14th and Petersen Road intersection, and other improvements.
Those initial successes encouraged the founders to incorporate the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association as a not-for-profit volunteer-run society at the beginning of 2014, with Shaw - a local investment advisor - becoming its first elected chair.
The students' inventory also discovered the neighbourhood's lack of a community garden so with the support of City Council and staff the group acquired use of a vacant piece of park land in Spring 2015 and within weeks the CNA members constructed a 22-bed organic garden aided by large amounts of donated materials and labour. It recently won an environmental award from the City and has become the subject of a documentary film.
Other actions delivered as a result of CNA lobbying include safety improvements on Petersen Road hill and the imminent installation by B.C. Hydro of about 20 new streetlights in the commercial core of Campbellton.
Those successes have spurred the CNA to push several other projects, notably improving public access to the river front in downtown Campbellton and along the Myrt Thompson Trail, and developing an "entrance feature" on the vacant parcel of land at the northwest end of 14th Avenue between Tamarac and Willow streets which also are the north and southbound lanes of the inland Island Highway; it would include a replica of a Beaver float plane on a pedestal, with parking spaces and signs directing tourists to downtown attractions.
So what exactly IS the CNA? The answer is it's whatever the residents and business operators want it to become!