There is an odd silence in the community, right now.
Since I first moved here, I cannot recall a major development going in that didn’t have at least one person standing on their soap box, belting out rants about how the development was going to block a view or destroy a “jewel of our community”. You could almost count on it. Yet, we have 2 major developments happening in our downtown area, significant in both scale and height, and there has not been a peep from the usual suspects.
Not that this is a bad thing. Quite the opposite. I am thrilled that we have these significant additions happening and I am excited by the prospect of how much they will change the look of our downtown core. More than that, I am excited by what they potentially mean for the future of our City.
Seymour Pacific / Broadstreet Properties
The new headquarters for one of Western Canada’s largest construction and property rental companies, will be the most significant change to downtown Campbell River in decades. A modern glass and steel structure, placed amongst building that, in some cases, date back to the mid-1940′s. It will be unlike anything that is in the community and will draw the attention of everyone who sees it. A 5-story beacon of things to come, proof that a headquarters for a major company can exist in a relatively small City on Vancouver Island.
Berwick Retirement Community
A company that has not only recognized that Campbell River is place that many are looking at for their retirement years, but is also willing to invest in the community to capitalize on that interest? Well, it’s about time.
For years I have looked at that property between Banners and McDonald’s and wondered if anyone would every develop its value potential. The announcement of a 6-story development with over 120 units tells me that companies from outside the community are finding the climate is right for building in Campbell River. Property value is right, the views are awesome and, apparently, the hurdles to development that plagued the past are slowly starting to disappear. Having talked to a few developers, both from within and without the community, the processes are still far from perfect, but they are considerably better than what they were.
Both Berwick and Seymour Pacific’s development bear none of the markings of major developments in the past. No drawn out council meetings filled with angry renters and property owners whose “views” may be slightly obscured. No “instant experts” on land and environment, waving banners of “Save our Community from Evil Development”. Nothing. It’s not to say that some may show up when the shovels arrive, with shocked looks on their faces and anger in their eyes yelling “nobody told us”, but, for now, there is a blissful peace and excitement for the changes to come.
But wait! There is more! On top of things like Seymour Pacific, Berwick and the Old Zellers/Future Target renovations, I am told that there are several other development coming in the downtown and in Willow Point, that will continue to change the face of this town. While some will look at it as the dawn of disaster (yes, NIMBY’s and CAVE types, I am talking about you), I look at it as saying the one thing we have failed to say in a very long time; Yes. We are open for business.