Land acknowledgement policy heading to council for approval

·4 min read

At a committee of the whole meeting on Sept. 28, council came together to discuss the land acknowledgment policy.

The recommendation that was brought forth was that committee recommend council adopt the draft land acknowledgment policy for use by the Municipality of Jasper and that committee refer the matter of regular ongoing reconciliation efforts to the 2022 strategic planning session.

At a regular council meeting on July 6, council approved the development of a traditional land acknowledgment for use by the municipality and then further directed administration to develop a land acknowledgment for review.

The land acknowledgment policy has been through significant work with their partners at Parks Canada, local Indigenous community members and internal committee.

Administration felt that adoption of the policy wasn’t the end of reconciliation and was rather the beginning.

Administration’s advice to council was that they put this matter in front of the next council for them to consider how they would like to approach reconciliation beyond the land acknowledgment policy.

The attached policy showed both an approved statement of territorial acknowledgment for use by the organization and also significant background information.

The first part of the statement looked at the territories in which Jasper National Park and the Jasper townsite sit.

The second part detailed more of the commitment and what it means to acknowledge that land and how this is significant in a number of ways.

Some important points that Lisa Riddell, community development manager, mentioned were that this is an ongoing journey and that the municipality is learning about the rich and complex history of Indigenous people in this area.

Written into the policy is a statement recognizing that this was a living document that will change and update, and that this is something that continues to get worked on and reviewed as an organization.

Riddell stated that they hope the policy is also a step towards Call to Action 57, which is about regular ongoing educating for public servants.

Committee appreciated all the hard work that was put into this acknowledgment.

Some council members were worried that if this policy was discussed at every council meeting it may become too trivial.

Coun. Paul Butler moved that committee direct administration that when bringing this policy back for approval that the word “indigenous” is stricken from the final sentence in section five and the part asking questions be stricken in section eight.

With all councillors in favour, the motion was carried

Mayor Richard Ireland then moved to add a definition of public meetings of council.

With one councillor not in favour, the motion was carried.

Coun. Jenna McGrath moved that committee recommend council adopt the draft land acknowledgment policy as amended for us by the Municipality of Jasper and that committee refer to the matter of regular, ongoing reconciliation efforts to the 2022 strategic planning session.

Skatepark relocation

Noise won’t be an issue should the skatepark be moved to Centennial Park, according to a report from municipal administration.

During the public engagement process regarding the relocation, respondents were concerned about the noise from the skatepark due to the proximity of the Alpine Summit Seniors Lodge.

John Greathead, director of operations with the municipality, conducted informal research on noise levels using a calibrated sound meter.

“Given the volume of the skatepark – and it’s already a public park with a playground, with the ball diamonds in there – I don’t see that this would require any further noise mitigation concerns or measures to be taken place,” Greathead said.

Greathead noted that the new construction would be made of concrete and likely less noisy than the existing metal skatepark.

He also spoke with New Line Skateparks, the designer working with Jasper Skate Park Society, and was told that this is common concern that comes up with new skateparks, but these parks are almost universally accepted once introduced.

Coun. Bert Journault agreed that no further mitigation was necessary.

“I have also done some observation of skateparks when I have travelled, and a new modern concrete base does not have the hollow sound that we’ve experienced in many other skate parks,” Journault said.

“I think that the seniors will be very appreciative of the activity and be able to observe the activity there instead of plain grass and the sound will be secondary.”

Coun. Scott Wilson asked how the skatepark was proceeding.

CAO Bill Given replied that the skatepark committee was still waiting on the results of their provincial grant application, which could take until the end of the year.

The committee accepted the report as information.

With files from Peter Shokeir

Ali Howat, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh

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