From left: Regional District of Nanaimo board Chair Bill Veenhof, elder Ann Bob and Electoral Area E Director Bob Rogers cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of Es-hw Sme~nts Community Park in Nanoose Bay. — Michael Briones photo

New Nanoose Bay community park opens

Name honours Snaw-Naw-As First Nation

The Regional District of Nanaimo officially opened its newest community park in the Nanoose Bay area.

Located on Oak Leaf Drive, the new park is named Es-hw Sme~nts Community Park, a Snaw-Naw-As word pronounced Eshk-Sments, meaning Seal Rock.

An opening ceremony was held Oct. 4 and was attended by RDN board Chair Bill Veenhof, Electoral Area E Director Bob Rogers and Snaw-Naw-As Coun. Christropher Bob. A First Nations blessing and prayer was conducted by elder Ann Bob and a song was sung by Eve Bob and Sophia Sampson. Christopher Bob thanked the regional district for the creation of the park and for its First Nation name.

“I would like to raise my hands for all the efforts that the RDN has put in and for respecting Snaw-Naw-As this way,” said Christopher.

Rogers praised the work done by the Parks and Open Space Advisory Committe, RDN staff, and the support given by the Snaw-Naw-As First Nation and elders in making this project, that was started three years ago, become a reality.

“Without their work going forward and support of this sort of vision for this park, I don’t think we’d be here today,” said Rogers. “Es-hw Sme~nts is a special place that warranted a special name and a special priority.”

The new park’s special features include sensitive coastal luffs and unique stands of stunted Garry Oak trees.