B.C. wants to name a Wells Gray mountain near several First Nations to honour a land surveyor - InfoNews

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B.C. wants to name a Wells Gray mountain near several First Nations to honour a land surveyor

There may be one newly named peak on the edge of Wells Gray Provincial Park and Cariboo Mountains Park.
Image Credit: INSTAGRAM / Tourism Wells Gray
January 17, 2020 - 8:00 AM

Not everyone is on board with a proposed new name for a mountain on the border of Wells Gray Park and several First Nations.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development sent out a letter last month to various recipients to get their feedback on the name change. Local, regional and Indigenous governments and other organizations are welcome to give their comments on changing a mountain on the border of Wells Gray Provincial Park and Cariboo Mountains Park to Mount Lyons. It didn't previously have an official name.

The proposed name change is to commemorate Chester P. Lyons, a Penticton man and forest engineer who played a major role in land rights for the B.C. Parks System, later taking on photography, writing, filmmaking and lecturer, according to Memory B.C. The website notes Lyons was an important figure in surveying, reforestation and development sine the late 1930s.

One archeologist from Kamloops is not on board with the name change, and took to Twitter to voice her thoughts.

The letter noted support for the name change from the Kamloops Naturalist Club, Kamloops Outdoors Club and the Alpine Club of Canada. It also says the ministry wants to know of any existing traditional name for the mountain, and if the name Mount Lyons would properly respect the heritage values. The letter was sent out on Dec. 9 and recipients have until Mar. 6 to give their feedback.

“Requests for comments on naming proposals are sent to representatives of the surrounding community including all Indigenous governments in whose territory the feature is in, local/regional governments and relevant regional organizations,” a spokesperson for the Ministry says in an email to iNFOnews.ca. 

The spokesperson declined to name all the First Nations involved.

It’s unclear which groups received the letter. In one of Hammond’s tweets, she states the option for feedback is the minimum legally mandatory consultation. The Ministry notes that all geographical name changes must be done so in accordance with the provincial government's geographical naming policy.

“A cornerstone of the policy is the community comment requirement to ensure that the naming proposal reflects the heritage values of the area,” says the spokesperson. “Depending on what comments have come in, a decision to adopt the name as an official place name in B.C. is made, a decision may be deferred for additional discussion or to address concerns, or a decision to reject the proposal may be made due to objections raised."

The spokesperson for the Ministry says geographical names have been denied before due to community feedback, although they couldn't speak to individual proposals.


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