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Why Kamloops is considering hiring a staff archeologist

Joanne Hammond and her team have found little stone knife fragments made of dacite, quarried at Arrowstone Hills for 1000s of years.
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January 11, 2021 - 6:00 AM

City of Kamloops councillors may consider hiring an archeologist to save money from using consulting firms for major projects and to promote cultural heritage in the community.

City staff are proposing to hire a professional archeologist because “archeology costs are anticipated within each of the major capital projects that the city undertakes,” according to a report which will be presented to council next week, Jan. 12.

In the last year, archeological findings were uncovered and identified at the Heffley Creek Bridge and the Victoria Street West projects and city staff report that regardless of the project, archeological planning work and project management activities could be conducted in-house.

READ MORE: More human remains expected to be found at Kamloops construction site

Since 2018, the city hired consulting firm Golder and Associates and has spent roughly $1.8 million over the last three years for its services which includes preparing proposals and work programs for archaeological services, assessments, archeological impact assessments, developing “chance find procedures” with Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc for use on city projects and operations. It could also help relations and strategies with First Nations, provide strategic direction for dealing with cultural resources, obtaining permits, managing projects and managing fieldwork.

On average, the city expects to spend approximately $1 million per year to support this agreement with Golder and to comply with the Heritage Conservation Resource Act and commitments made to Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc.

“The majority of this effort is spent on fieldwork; however, at least 20-30% of the work is project management and project coordination. While the city expects that the costs associated with the related fieldwork will continue to be incurred, there is an opportunity to shift the project management and project coordination work in-house and realize savings as opposed to continuing to have consultants perform this work,” according to the report.

By hiring an archeologist, the city could take on project management and project coordination, and will save $74,000 in 2021 rather than relying on Golder for the work, which would cost the city $200,000 for its services. It would also incur subsequent savings over the next five years.

“There are opportunities to save money if this work is done in-house and to advance the understanding of the importance of archaeology and cultural heritage across the organization and in the community as a whole,” according to the report.

If the position is approved, the person would be hired in the third quarter of 2021. The person's salary would be $100,600 in 2021.

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