On Jan. 17, Sechelt council voted to move forward with an application to rename Wormy Lake as John Phare Lake, pending confirmation that Phare’s family members all support the name change.
The submission will be made to the geographical names office of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD). Sechelt will have to request a special exemption from provincial policies, since geographical features are not normally named to commemorate either victims of, or the location of, “mishaps, accidents or tragedies.”
John Phare, a logger, was killed by a falling tree July 5, 2015 while assisting fire crews to fight the Old Sechelt Mine wildfire. Phare, aged 60, was born and raised on the Sunshine Coast and his celebration of life ceremony drew 800 people to the arena at the Gibsons Community Centre.
Phare posthumously received a medal of Good Citizenship in October 2015. In 2016, the District of Sechelt purchased an art installation by Gordon Halloran, entitled “Regeneration”, and dedicated it to Phare. It stands in front of the Sechelt Visitor Centre.
“There’s very strong support from the family members and children that I’ve spoken to, to move forward in this direction and on the other hand I haven’t heard from anybody who that has said this is not a good idea,” said Councillor Darren Inkster at the Jan. 17 council meeting.
“I haven’t heard anything but…’why haven’t you done it already’,” said Councillor Noel Muller. “I think now is the time to just go ahead and do it. John Phare was a fantastic community member, we all know that, and the way that this came about is an absolute tragedy but we’ll remember this and the community will remember this in all the years ahead.”
Wormy Lake is accessed from the end of Mason Road in West Sechelt, and is located in the Sunshine Coast Regional District Area B. The SCRD voted in December to support the name application. The present name, Wormy Lake, is an informal name which is not officially recognized by the province. Donna McMahon