June 2018

170 171 concerns regarding over-fishing of salmon stocks, further popularized the area among fisherman. To this day, any angler capable of catching an elusive, 30-plus pound Tyee, while in a non-mo- torized rowboat, using no downriggers or weights, just a spoon or a plug, and can reel it in by hand, becomes a member of the Tyee Club. Commercial fishing was a large industry in Campbell River for many years, and industrial log- ging took off in the 1920s. In addition, the area was home to several zinc, coal, and copper mines. After World War II, Campbell River became a boom town and industrial center with the build- ing of the John Hart Dam. “The town was very for- tunate in 1947, to have BC Hydro build an electric power generating station that provided all the power for the middle and north island,” says May- or Andy Adams, a city councilor since 2005, and mayor since 2014. “It was also the driving force behind the Catalyst Pulp and Paper Mill, and then the Timber West Sawmill, being based here and powered off of that generating station.” “But times have changed,”Adams continues. “When I first got on Council, 13 years ago, the resource industries were beginning to take a sig- nificant hit. By 2010, in a matter of 18-24 months, we had the sawmill close permanently; we had the pulp and paper mill close permanently; we had two mines in our regional district area shut down. That was a hit in excess of 3,500 well-paid jobs for a community, which at that time was less than 30,000 people.” And yet, Adams reports that the city survived that combination of knock-out blows. “Catalyst had five pulp mills on the west coast in different communities, and we were the only communi- ty, where Catalyst had shut down, that has not decreased in population. And that’s a testament CAMPBELL RIVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA to people here, who, for many years, went off and commuted to the oil patch in Fort McMurray, or worked in diamond mines in the Northwest Ter- ritories; I had friends who commuted to Barrick Gold in the Dominican Republic and to some of the mining operations in Peru. They’d leave their families and go away for three weeks out and two weeks in, or some- times months at a time. But, they kept their families here; they kept their houses here; they kept their kids in school, here.” Even so, the loss of those companies was a $6 million dollar hit to Campbell River’s tax base, “which meant we had to re-invent how we were doing things and how we were going to keep the lights on and keep the infrastructure maintained, and also, develop for future growth,”Adams notes. “So, we were very fortunate that BC Hydro, with that original hydro dam, made the decision to rein- vest and replace that gen- erating station. For the past five years, we have had a $1 billion capital project from BC Hydro to build a brand new, state-of-the-art gener- ating station, underground. We are just shutting down the old generator, now, and will be starting up the new one, which provides power for 30 percent of Vancouver Island.” Because of the new power station’s under- ground design, the City was forced to replace its dedicated water supply and water treatment AT A GLANCE CAMPBELL RIVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA WHAT: A city of about 32,000 people WHERE: Halfway up the eastern coast of Vancouver Island WEBSITE: www.campbellriver.ca