Saanich council postponed voting to rename Mount Douglas Park to include its traditional name of PKOLS, citing it will already be part of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) coming to council next month.
At the district’s June 21 meeting, every council member who spoke during discussion on the renaming supported the change. However, council members said the renaming is already a part of the MOU with the WSANEC leadership council.
“We’re trying to respect the engagement process of government to government, with our First Nation government,” Mayor Fred Haynes said.
The discussion stemmed from a letter to Saanich from Eric Pelkey, the leadership council’s community engagement coordinator and a hereditary chief of the Tsawout Nation.
“It has been eight years since the march up PKOLS to restore the sacred name to our mountain,” Pelkey’s letter said, adding that the park land has a “vitally important place in the history of the WSANEC Nation.”
The letter also said there would be no problem with keeping reference to Sir James Douglas in the park’s name.
Several councillors also wanted to hold off until the memorandum of understanding vote, so the district could clarify what aspects – the mountain, the park or both – are to be renamed.
Paul Thorkelsson, Saanich’s chief administrative officer, said council has the authority to change the park’s moniker, but the mountain is a geological structure so its renaming must be done by the province.
Multiple councillors noted renaming Mount Douglas Park is included in the community’s 2019 to 2023 strategic plan. The plan lists the renaming initiative as unfunded.
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