First Nations Burial Ground at Beacon Hill Park
November 21, 2013With the guidance and support of the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations, the existing ancient burial ground in Beacon Hill Park has been identified as a potential special place to rebury First Nations human remains that may be uncovered during construction in the park and along Dallas Road to accommodate a new sewer main.
Located on the southeast slope of Beacon Hill near the Checkers Pavilion, the ancient First Nations burial site is marked by cairns. The site can be accessed by pedestrians from Circle Drive or the parking lot on top of Beacon Hill. A draft concept plan for the burial ground includes First Nations figures that are similar to totem poles, and split-rail fencing as noted in the artist's rendering below.
Dallas Road and Beacon Hill Park are considered to be archaeologically significant due to the rich First Nations history in the area. Songhees and Esquimalt Nations remains have been uncovered at several excavation sites in this area over the past few years. There is a likelihood of more remains being uncovered during the Capital Regional District's construction of the Clover Point sewer main along Dallas Road in 2015.
Cost and Funding
The initiative is estimated to be $180,000 to $200,000 but will be depend on the size and scale of the First Nations figures that will be used to identify the burial ground. The City will contribute the land designation and the ongoing maintenance of the burial site in partnership with local First Nations and will be approaching the Capital Regional District (CRD) about including the cost of the project as part of the Clover Point sewer main project. As the burial ground is not identified in the City of Victoria Capital Plan, it can only be initiated once sufficient funds are secured from the CRD.
Beacon Hill Park is a designated municipal heritage site. Before any work can begin, the City will need to conduct a heritage impact study and apply for a Heritage Alteration Permit to determine if reburials can be administered by City staff. This study will be initiated once funding is secured.
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