A kiosk and trail sign unveiling at Wul’aam Park in Chemainus coincided with National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations Tuesday.
Municipality of North Cowichan Councillor and acting mayor Debra Toporowski was on hand to speak and participate in the unveiling, along with Penelakut Tribe elder Florence James and Chemainus community leaders.
The signage includes trail names and descriptions developed with Penelakut School students and elders, written in Hul’q’umi’num.
“This project is a wonderful testament to the immense knowledge shared by Penelakut elders,” said Toporowski. “These signs will also be a tremendous resource for trail users, who can learn traditional knowledge and some words in Hul’q’umi’num as they enjoy the park.”
Wul’aam Park, which means echo in Hul’q’umi’num, was originally called Echo Heights in reference to the residential development in the area. The park was conceived in 2013 through efforts by community members such as Mark Kiemele and Kathy Wachs to preserve the beautiful space.
James, elder Auggie Sylvester and Earl Jack – Penelakut Tribe chief at the time – also provided their support to the effort.
Three trailhead kiosk signs – including one funded and constructed by Rotary Club of Chemainus volunteers – as well as trail markers throughout the 20-hectare park include names in English and Hul’q’umi’num.
A video documenting the work on creating the signs, as well as highlighting the traditional knowledge of the elders, is currently in production and will be shared soon. Wul’aam Park is located at 3217 Channel Blvd. at Echo Heights in Chemainus.
James gave a prayer in Hul’q’umi’num and blessed the trail with red earth at the ceremony. She was instrumental in naming the three sub-trails after the owls that live in the forest.