A First Nation on Vancouver Island is set to release the results of a preliminary search for unmarked graves at the site of a former residential institution. The Tseshaht (TSAY’-shat) First Nation says the update comes after 18 months of planning and operations at the site of the former Alberni Indian Residential School. The nation’s leadership says children from at least 100 Indigenous communities attended the school in Port Alberni while it operated between 1900 and 1973. Tseshaht Elected Chief Councillor Wahmeesh, whose English name is Ken Watts, says it’s essential to embark on what he calls “this journey of truth” despite the process being difficult for survivors of the institution.
A totem pole taken from a BC First Nation more than 100 years ago has been welcomed home with a ceremony filled with dance, songs and speeches. The Nuxalk (NEW’-hawk) Nation in the central coast community of Bella Coola officially unveiled the newly repatriated pole in a ceremony attended by hundreds of people marking its long-awaited return from the Royal BC Museum in Victoria. Carved in the mid-1800s as an entrance pole to a long house, the pole was later used as a marker for a family grave, but it was taken without permission in 1913. Chief Deric Snow is a descendent of the man who carved the pole and says the return is a good first step, but the nation continues to work toward the return of additional Nuxalk belongings that remain at the museum.
Police in Vancouver say a man has been charged with attempted murder in a Downtown Eastside shooting over the weekend. They say officers had been working along East Hastings Street Sunday afternoon when the 31-year-old victim was shot repeatedly. They say the victim who was known to police was expected to survive after being taken to hospital, while officers arrested the suspect soon after he fled the area. Police say a 32-year-old man has been charged and remains in custody with a court appearance scheduled on Friday.
The chief of the municipal police service in Surrey, BC, is calling for an independent audit of the city’s costings for its policing transition, saying he’s concerned they’ve been “inflated and mischaracterized” to target the fledgling force. The city’s draft five-year budget, released Saturday, says more than half of a proposed 9.5 per cent property tax increase for 2023 will go toward costs associated with the transition which involves a reversal of plans by the former mayor and council to replace the RCMP with the Surrey Police Service. The budget relies on a presumption that the city will retain the Mounties, and says a shortfall of more than 116 million dollars is the result of what Mayor Brenda Locke calls a “misguided experiment” to change policing in Surrey. Surrey Police Chief Constable Norm Lipinski says he’s worried the city is depicting its numbers in a way that calls into question the viability of the municipal force, and he supports an audit to ensure taxpayers get clarity.
Residents of Richmond, BC, are being urged to be careful while using rat bait, as seven skunks showing signs of poisoning have died in the Metro Vancouver city. Critter Care Wildlife Society says the skunks were dead or dying when they were brought in to the wildlife rehabilitation centre between February 9th and 16th. Lesley Fox, executive director of the wildlife protection charity Fur Bearers, says the signs of poisoning are concerning because the poison could ripple through the food chain and affect other animals, potentially including pets. City of Richmond spokesman Clay Adams says the city is waiting on toxicology tests to find out what killed the skunks.
Environment Canada has issued a series of snowfall warnings throughout eastern BC, from the Kinbasket region down to the east Kootenays and the Elk Valley, with up to 15 centimetres expected in Cranbrook and up to 30 centimetres in Fernie. A winter storm warning is also posted for the Coquihalla Highway between Hope and Merritt, with up to 35 centimetres of snow forecast at the highest elevations. Flurries throughout the southern Interior are expected to ease later today. A rainfall warning was also in effect for the Fraser Valley, with the heaviest downpours expected to taper off this morning, while wind warnings covered Victoria and the west coast of Vancouver Island.