Update from another Campbell River paper February 1976

It has just recently been decided at a board meeting, that the 22 students from Carihi will be able to go to the UNESCO conference, after all. The conference is being planned by Powell River and is sponsored by the Attorney-Generals’ office for $13,000.00.

Myrna and Jim at Rendezvous Canada

Myrna and Jim at Rendezvous Canada

Except for a very few who had courageous teachers, a generation of young people in Campbell River were denied the opportunity to take part in school programs at the Lodge. For the Lodge this proved to be of long term benefit as we soon were filling the place with private and public school children from many of the top schools in B.C. Around 4000 to 7000 students come to the Lodge each year, often the same schools returning year after year .

I have also had an uneasy relationship with the Chamber of Commerce in Campbell River. I am sure that I have belonged to this Chamber longer than anyone one else in Campbell River; my father took me meetings starting in about 1960. I always pay my fee but feel that most members do not consider me to be part of their organization. On one occasion the president asked during a meeting for volunteers to be on their environmental commit- tee. At the end of the meeting I was the only one who stepped up to offer my services. The president looked horrified and stated “Oh no, we don’t want you. W e want someone from logging or mining. ”

Tourism in Campbell River has traditionally meant the promotion of properties inside the municipal limits and fishing had to be the main focus. The only promotional phrase that was met with favour was “Salmon Capital of the World”. This refusal to broaden their image or to promote nearby rural properties has backfired on Campbell River as salmon fishing is really not that consistent any more.

Ironically, I expect that the Lodge has spent more money in Camp- bell River over the last fifty years than any other tourist business. We buy locally as much as we can, a lesson I learned from my father, Wallace Baikie, who was a big supporter of the local community.

I have a friend, Dean Wyatt, who is in the bear watching business at Knight Inlet. Dean’s booth at ‘Rendezvous Canada’, the big national government sponsored trade show, gets more requests for appointments than any other attraction in Canada. A letter to the local paper complained about his business and mine saying that we weren’t local, so shouldn’t be promoted by the local community. ‘Knight Inlet Lodge’ puts all their guests up for one night in Campbell River and provides a large portion of the business of a local float plane company. In the early years, unsupportive local organizations did me a favour. I found support and learned a great deal when I spent at least a dozen years on the board of TAVI and later served two terms with Tourism British Columbia, a very effective quasi/government organization where I learned a great deal and made many good friends.

(Since becoming a city in 2005 Campbell River has developed a much more professional attitude toward tourism. I am also heartened by the growing support for the environment.)