The next few years will be an active, challenging and rewarding time for Campbell River.
People are working hard to make good things happen – and I expect that in 2014 we will all be able to look back and be amazed.
"The best way to cope with change is to be part of it."
We’ve seen huge upheaval in our city over the last 10 years and certainly in the last three. Like dozens of other communities in BC and around the world, we’ve been shocked and discouraged and found ways to adjust as our industrial base shrank and as many in our population have either left or now rotate out of town for employment.
Campbell River is now positioned to soar.
We are one of four communities chosen by the provincial government as a location for a regional economic investment pilot project. A forum in Campbell River will bring together representatives from business, industry, First Nations and education to gather our best ideas and generate plans to reinvigorate the local economy, boost investment and promote our region as a great place to live, work and raise a family.
So starts another stage in the maturing of Campbell River.
Our destiny is ours to determine. How high we go is ours to control. Where we go is only limited by our desire to get there. What we achieve and how we achieve it depends on our creativity and on our passion.
In many ways, it comes down to our ability to tell our story.
The world is starting to see and hear it. The big box store owners certainly have seen the potential of our area for several years. The increasing number of recent real estate sales has started to show it. The young people who grew up here and left to be educated, and are now returning as professionals and business people certainly see it. So do many retiring seniors. So do entrepreneurs from Europe. So do young professionals: doctors, lawyers, accountants, people offering technical skills, people with creative minds, people capable of teaching and leading, the young couple who want to start a new venture.
They are all believers in Campbell River’s potential.
The light at the end of the tunnel is beginning to brighten, and we’ll be working hard to address the challenges before us.
While not everyone will be overjoyed at every solution this new Council will choose, hopefully everyone will see and know that the new council has listened, has carefully considered the options and has taken the best direction for our community.
Near the top of our civic and regional priorities must be our requirement for top quality local medical services.
And the financial situation facing the city in early 2012 will be a significant challenge. Our tax base has not stabilized, and yet costs are rising.
We’ll do our best to address the needs of an aging water supply and distribution system, basic neighbourhood improvements for Campbellton, road and stormwater upgrades, waste handling and downtown revitalization.
For the individual taxpayer, the biggest bang for the tax buck is good, cost-effective, responsive government leadership.
Together, we will work hard to develop and implement a robust and wise financial plan for 2012 and beyond, and we will clearly communicate the necessary changes and new expectations.
And we need to find ways to create growth and opportunities for the young and early middle-aged populations as well.
We must focus our invitation toward the generation that respects clean air, clean water, a short commute, reasonably priced housing and ready access to nature.
To keep the City of Campbell River running takes far more than an elected few. There are dozens of qualified and dedicated people within the civic organization, people making things happen. Their suggestions and frontline insights are important.
As well, there are dozens of volunteers also working quietly at tasks and activities that give our city a diverse life and soul. Whether it’s helping the homeless, the lonely, the hungry, the elderly, the sick, or driving others for medical treatments, giving a boost to people needing special assistance, or leading sports teams, craft groups, community bands and choirs, the list is endless. This unpaid work is vital.
And, there's more to celebrate with our growing arts and culture community that invigorates Campbell River with wonderful festivals, events and outdoor art.
As we move forward, our new council will be open and show respect to all community groups, including First Nations and our regional district neighbours. All sectors of our region must be full partners in our mutual success. With cooperation, compromise, respect and passion all electorates will benefit. We are all in this together.
The voters have blessed our 2012 to 2014 civic council with an impressive depth of skills and diversity of talents. Working together, this council will be able to effectively steer our city and region towards a bright sustainable future that recognizes the oceans of opportunity in Campbell River.
We have a solid commercial fishing fleet and a developing and constantly improving aquaculture industry with all the attached support services. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans added a new local department just for fish farms. Marine transportation is still a big sector and is growing. We see numerous boaters, sailors and seasonal sports fishermen. Tourism opportunities in our region are increasing to the point where the adventure and cultural options in our area seem endless. Increasing access to our spectacular shoreline and to the ocean will be a big value-added feature for our city.
And, of course, we are the Forestry Capital of BC, and Wood First continues to be a civic priority.
At times during the next three years, we are going to ask the public to help us on specific tasks – and ask for fresh ideas. Please be willing to jump in, even if you’ve never done so before.
And, if you know of a genuine need that’s getting missed, or have an idea, crazy or not, please be bold and speak up. Weird ideas often spawn new concepts or motivate others to be creative.
Campbell River is in fierce competition with hundreds of other global communities, but nature has stacked the deck in our favour.
So now it’s up to us to work hard to make our future. All of us! It’s the people, our people who add the life, the spirit, the music, the flowers, the flavours, the aromas, the pulse and the curiosity. Together – let’s build on these themes starting right NOW!
Mayor Walter Jakeway