Echo Heights Park is getting a new name.
Following a recommendation from its Parks and Recreation Committee, North Cowichan council will rename the 21 hectares of forested trails Wul’aam Park, which translates to Echo Park in the Hul’qumi’num language.
The change is in recognition of the Penelakut First Nation, for whom the park is an important site. It was suggested by Penelakut elder Florence James.
Parks & Recreation Director Ernie Mansueti, reporting on conversations with the Penelakut First Nation, said the Wul’aam Park was the preferred name.
Penelakut Administrator Ruth Saunder told him, “that the park is a very important site for the Penelakut people as it was used for various traditional rites, teachings and medicines.”
“The Penelakut would also like to be part of any ceremony that officially renames the park,” Mansueti reported.
Background documentation from Kathy Wachs of the Chemainus Residents’ Association, which applied for the name change, says, “This park is a biodiversity ‘hot spot’ and has been identified by Florence and Penelakut elder August Sylvester, as well as ethnobiologists and biologists, as home to plants which historically ensured the survival of the Coast Salish people.”
Concludes the CRA submission, “We feel that giving this new park a Hul’qumi’num name recognizes the people on whose traditional territory it lies and is especially appropriate at this time of reconciliation between First Nations and non-aboriginal people.”