Fence mulled for Craig Bay

The closed fire pit at Craig Bay. - Steven Heywood photo
The closed fire pit at Craig Bay.
— image credit: Steven Heywood photo

The recent closure of a small fire pit area near a First Nations burial site at Craig Bay has given rise to rumours of large-scale fencing around the waterfront property.

In early August, the archaeology branch of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations ordered a small fire pit shut down, due to its proximity to the remains of ancestors from the Nanoose First Nation. The remains of 102 people from approximately 147 graves were dug up by construction crews in 1994, leading to court challenges and the eventual purchase of the land by the province as a park. Some remains were reburied on the grounds of Craig Bay in a ceremony in May of this year.

After the fire pit was closed, ministry officials and MLA Ron Cantelon met with Craig Bay residents. Ministry spokesperson Cheekwan Ho told The News they heard people’s concerns at that time about fencing around the fire pit and burial site areas.

She added there have been discussions with Nanoose First Nation Chief David Bob as well, characterizing the relationship between the parties as anything but sour.

The closure of the fire pit, Ho said, was out of respect to the midden (burial site) nearby. Fencing it off to protect it from widespread pubic use of the area, she continued, is one option being considered. Any fence, she added, would not be large or cover a widespread amount of the province-owned land.


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