Lee pitches ‘working group’ for name change proposals

Area A director Leonard Lee has asked that a working group be formed to address the proposed name change of Madeira Park to salalus.

“We should establish our own working group to effectively implement this work item, which has been mandated by the recently signed Foundation Agreement,” said Lee, adding that discussions with shíshálh Nation and representatives from the affected communities could “result in more significant and more appropriate places to name or rename.”

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The request came after Area A’s Advisory Planning Commission’s (APC) comments about the name change proposal were received at the May 14 Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) planning committee meeting. The APC stated it was “strongly opposed” to changing the name to salalus, a she shashishalhem name referring to a channel entrance, fishing sites and village near Sechelt Band Land 20.

Proposed name changes first emerged at the end of January, when the province’s Geographical Names Division said it was seeking input from local governments.

In March, the SCRD said it would hold off sending in comments until it heard back from advisory planning commissions in Pender Harbour and Roberts Creek. Wilson Creek has been proposed as ts’ukw’um and the name Madeira Park would be replaced with salalus. The office is also looking at a name change for Saltery Bay. The community association that includes Wilson Creek has already provided input to the District of Sechelt, describing the name change as “a positive step toward reconciliation.”

Local government responses were supposed to be submitted to the province by April 23 but an extension was granted until the end of August.

At the May 14 meeting, Lee said in addition to the working group he wanted to see an “agreed upon timeline of events that is to occur before we respond,” and asked for more clarity on the consultation process. So far he has received 50 emails from residents without having solicited feedback. “I’d like to see staff help me with this… There’s too many, I can barely keep track of them.”

Planning manager Ian Hall said feedback from directors and the communities has indicated the referral process was unclear, and they would be inviting a representative from the province to speak to the process – as discussed prior to the COVID-19 crisis. CAO Dean McKinley said he would discuss “rescheduling of the board presentation.”

As for the working group, Lee said the possibilities for finding other names “are endless.” For example, Francis Point Provincial Park could be renamed salalus Provincial Park, or Pender Harbour could be renamed kalpilin, he said.

“I would like to see the two communities explore that kind of thing together,” he said. “As committed as we are to the reconciliation, true reconciliation should be a positive process for all parties.”

Staff said they would look into the possibilities.

– With files from Sean Eckford

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