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New road name a nod to region's first inhabitants

Coun. Jamie McEwan

The new name chosen for the section of Hwy 97 running between Winfield and Oyama is actually quite an old name. 

On Tuesday, Lake Country decided on Pelmewash Parkway, one of 160 different names submitted. 


"Pelmewash was the Anglicized version of the Aboriginal name for Wood Lake prior to the arrival of Thomas Wood in the community," said Mayor James Baker. 


Coun. Jamie McEwan, an enthusiastic supporter of the new name, says Pelmewesh comes from the traditional "pelm" meaning land, and "ewash" meaning water or lake. 


"The reason I like it so much is it recognizes settlement didn't start with Europeans," says McEwan. 


Recently, thousands of First Nations artifacts were uncovered during the new highway construction. The finds included arrowheads, spear points, hammer stones, and possibly a fishing net. 


"Consultation with traditional Okanagan language speakers and local historians has been ongoing during the public consultation process," said Baker of the new road naming.


McEwan noted the name was suggested by the Lake Country museum. 


The runners up were Lake Country Parkway and Wood Lake Parkway. 


McEwan says the Parkway bit is intended to increase tourism by highlighting the route as a scenic corridor. 


"We want it to be more than just a drive," says McEwan. 


Council will hold public input sessions with the community to discuss the long-term use of the land along the corridor, including the establishment of parks. 


"I'd love to see it be a community driven plan," says McEwan, adding that council hopes to get things rolling as quickly as possible.


New road signs won't be up until the new stretch of Hwy 97 is completed in 2013. 


"We don't want people getting lost on their GPS," says McEwan. 


—Charlotte Helston


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