After close to six years of planning, qathet Regional District has finished construction of a new Indigenous-style gathering structure. This was thought of as a longhouse, however it has open walls, therefore, Tla’amin has advised the public to instead call it a gathering structure, as it is more fitting to the style. This building will now provide a covered area at Shelter Point Regional Park and Campground.
“It took about a week to put up, however, it has been in process since a C3 meeting in 2015,” says Area D Director, Sandy McCormick. “We needed covering at the park. However, the design chosen was just some poles and a metal roof. There had been significant artifacts found there, so I suggested asking Tla’amin for a design.”
The artifacts found there were remnants of a very large First Nations village. These include slate knives, bones, cutting tools, building foundations, projectile points, and scrapers. They were found back in 2012 after a fire had destroyed the caretaker’s residence and concession. The tool artifacts can be seen within a cabinet at the new caretaker’s home. The discovery was seen as being very major, as it was one of the biggest sites found along the Sunshine Coast, and is said to be over 330 years old.
Sandy explains that it has taken a while to gain funding for the project, but in 2019 they received about $120,000 from Powell River Community Forest to construct it. She mentions that an archaeologist helped them choose where it would be okay to put the building, with it ending up between the boat launch and swing-set.
“The artifacts found were the inspiration for the structure to have an Indigenous design. Fortunately Tla’amin came up with a beautiful conceptual design that we were able to create! There are still a few more things needed to finish the structure, but now people have a covered area for weddings, gatherings, etc., which is nice as things start to get back to normal,” Sandy says.
Abby Francis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, qathet Living