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Floatplane installed at Campbellton entrance aims to commemorate heritage

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If you’ve ever come off Highway 19 and into Campbell River, the initial impressions of Campbellton may not be what was expected of a mid-Island city.

The industrialized area of Campbellton has been left behind when it comes to ‘sprucing up’, according to past Campbellton Neighbourhood Association chair Brian Shaw.

“It’s not exactly a lovely end of town,” said Shaw.

“Because Campbellton is the industrialized end of Campbell River, when people enter Campbell River by the freeway they don’t get to see the best of part of Campbell River to start off,” he added.

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But now, a recent project has come together to make the entrance a bit more attractive, while tying it into the area’s history.

“All we wanted to do in order to improve the looks of Campbellton is take the eyes of the visitor off of the industrial sector and give them something to look at, like an airplane.”

The now finished Beaver aircraft has been placed on a pedestal at the start, or finish, of Highway 19 for when visitors come and go from Campbellton.

The planning for the project began as far back as 2013, as an idea sparked by a nearby pond. Shaw said the floatplane seemed to fit the area well.

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The plane also shows a very important piece of Campbell River history, according to Shaw. Planes were a very important mode of transportation in the 1960s.

“In the 60s, the floatplane port at the spit was the most active in Canada,” said Shaw. “The airplane itself has been the tool that the forestry, mining and fishing sectors have all done extremely well over the last hundred years.”

He says the association is wanting to show pieces of Campbell River’s history through the additions to the site.

Sealand Aviation donated the aircraft in pieces to be put together for the project. While the plane doesn’t have a certificate of air, it is still an accurate creation of what a plan in the 1950s would look like.

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The red and grey paint job also features the original BC Airlines logo from the first planes.

The plane will be placed on a pedestal, high off the ground. They’re planning to have it illuminated with light from below and have all the correct lighting for night flights.

Shaw said being able to see the plane finally put together is a triumph after setbacks in getting the project approved by the Ministry of Transportation.

“It took forever, seemingly,” he said. “I’m ecstatic! I couldn’t be happier for Campbell River.”

As a resident of Campbellton, Shaw said it’s a big step forward in improving the city and making it a better place to live.

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