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Extension request on Madeira Park renaming

Extension request on Madeira Park renaming

The SCRD board requested an additional extension to the end of 2021 to comment on the name change for Madeira Park to salalus. At its Dec. 10 meeting, board members agreed to ask the province for time to host in-person discussions once concerns related to COVID-19 have passed and physical public gatherings can be safely held.
The name change proposal was one of several put forward to the province by the shíshálh Nation over a year ago. That included a request to rename Wilson Creek to ts’ukw’um. The District of Sechelt indicated its support for that adjustment Nov. 18.
On July 23, the SCRD asked the province to extend the timeframe for comment on changes for place names in the Pender Harbour area until the end of this year. It also asked that a town hall-style meeting be organized for community members to gain more understanding of the request and to be able to provide input. With COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings, that event was unable to be held.
SCRD Pender Harbour Area Director Leonard Lee noted that the name change for Madeira Park would have different impacts than the other adjustments proposed by the shíshálh. This renaming would change the civic addresses of that community’s residents.
The board’s shíshálh Nation representative, Chief Warren Paull, supported the extension request, saying that he preferred discussions with the Madeira Park community being held in person rather than online. “This should be a joining of two cultures, not a polarizing effort,” said Paull. He said there was a need for more understanding of the “heartfelt” support for retaining the existing name. He added that future and continuous dialogue among all involved was an “absolute necessity.”
Other board members questioned the provincial process of requesting regional government to comment on behalf of the community. Lee noted that if the SCRD was not asked to gather the community’s thoughts, he was unsure what group should do it.
The board motion that passed supports the province’s efforts to rename geographical features and locations within the shíshálh swiya as an important part of building relationships, cultural awareness, respect and reconciliation. It calls for further efforts to manage impacts renamings may pose for the 9-1-1 emergency call system and other information or property identification resources.
The SCRD also accepted a grant of just under $3,000 from the Union of BC Municipalities to host discussions with Coast residents on potential name changes.
Connie Jordison

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