A new park in Aberdeen geared toward educating people on climate science and Indigenous ecological knowledge is expected to be completed this fall.
City of Kamloops sustainability services supervisor Glen Cheetham and Tk’emlups te Secwepemc archeologist Leslie LeBourdais provided an update on the the West Highlands Carbon Park on Monday during a community-to-community forum between the city and the First Nations band.
The project was approved by Kamloops council in July and most of the park’s infrastructure has already been completed on the site of the former Aberdeen Hills Golf Links.
Cheetham told KTW the main focus now is incorporating all the environmental information that will be used in the park, including weaving in a First Nations perspective provided by the band.
Tk’emlups prepared a comprehensive report listing traditional plants and their technical uses, as well as a traditional story that will all be showcased in the park, Cheetham said.
“Right now, we’re really working on developing and refining the education program,” Cheetham told the councils, noting the city continues to work on those materials with Tk’emlups staff as the grand opening draws near.
LeBourdais said the band is enthusiastic about collaborating on the project.
“I think it’s a great example of the work between our organizations and advancing cultural understanding and environmental sustainability,” LeBourdais said.
Educational signs, brochures and electronic media will explore the major themes of climate change, environmental stewardship and ecosystem protection.
The park includes a 35-plot community garden, which is nearly complete, as well as a finished amphitheatre located between two soccer fields adjacent the West Highlands Community Centre (the former golf course clubhouse). The amphitheatre is expected to be used by students, sports teams, small wedding parties and park visitors.
“There’s still some vegetation to do in the spring and some tree planting, [but] the main piece is completing the education component,” Cheetham said.
The $129,000 project is largely being funded through grants. TD Bank Group and TD Friends of the Environment donated $79,000 and CN gave $25,000.
The city will pitch in the other $25,000 from its parks capital fund.