Downtown Campbell River has been coming up in the news a lot lately.
There’s been some definite tension being put out by counsellors and residents regarding it being a thriving community space.
Luckily, it doesn’t take much to make it one. All it takes is people coming out and coming together.
Last month on March 2nd, the Live Streets event was held and breathed some energy into the downtown core.
Shoppers Row was transformed into an art, music, food, and community hub with the free community event series, which initially started last summer.
Restaurants were full of people, and Councillors congratulated the organizers for helping support businesses and a sense of safety on the streets.
“We’ve lost so many things,” Mayor Dahl said, speaking on community events since Covid and a sense of comfortability in the downtown area. “And this is, I think, just the beginning of us being able to rebuild those things.
The event wasn’t without controversy. The Councillors debated whether Live Streets should be getting financial support to continue on a regular basis.
“I think it is strongly aligned with our objectives. And that’s to develop a healthy, friendly community,” said Mayor Dahl.
Beyond just the benefits of a more friendly atmosphere, some feel the economic plus is also there.
“It does directly benefit businesses,” Coun. Tanille Johnston said. “I heard that all the restaurants that were opened were completely full and booked, like it was an extreme success.”
The proposed city budget is $140,000 for CR Live Streets in each of the upcoming years. It’s an investment, and one councillor reaffirmed that there are a lot of different motions that could use more funding right now.
“There’s such a conflict in my mind of things we are pursuing and things that we’re not pursuing that I think we should be,” said Coun. Doug Chapman
“I’m not saying no to this; I understand the value of it. And I think it should go ahead. But you know, now look at the money being spent versus some of the Council’s priorities, goals, objectives that are not yet funded.”
His voice was heard, but ultimately the Council decided it brings more benefits than immediately meets the eye.
“I think that our support for that community is imperative,” Coun. Ron Kerr said. “And these kinds of activities, I think, I mean, that’s the goal is to bring that energy that you were talking about and safety back to our downtown core … it’s totally aligned with Council’s priorities.”
The funding went through, and hopefully, we’ll all see a lot more life in the streets because of it.