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Working group for possible Powell River name change plans public engagement sessions

Events scheduled for interested area residents
2631_census_2021_powell _river_qathet
ESTABLISHING MEETINGS: A possible name change joint working group is planning a number of events to engage with the public to continue sharing information about the history and identity of the qathet region, and to be in conversation with each other.

A joint working group, which is a collaborative community accord committee of City of Powell River and Tla’amin Nation elected officials and residents, is inviting area residents to events about the request from Tla’amin for the city to consider a name change.

Results from a survey have been collated and evaluated. According to a media release from the possible name change committee, a total of 3,732 surveys were completed. The release stated that surveys were not very successful reaching younger residents or lower income residents. Most survey respondents were women and most live in Westview.

“We learned that we share values for what we love about this place and why it is special,” the release stated. “People would like more learning opportunities and information sharing to build unity. Some people understand reconciliation and that it is a journey. Some people think that changing the name of Powell River will erase history.”

Harmony Johnson (sɛƛakəs), possible name change joint working group co-chair, vice-president of Indigenous wellness and reconciliation with Providence Health Care and a Tla’amin citizen, stated: “Since the name change process started, Tla’amin members are reporting a rising number of concerning incidents of hate and sarcasm both online and in town. The upcoming sessions provide an opportunity for us to get out from behind our keyboards and back into a relationship with one another, to remember that what unites us is a shared love for this place and a commitment to upholding one another’s dignity.”

Stewart Alsgard, possible name change joint working group co-chair, former mayor of Powell River and a city resident, stated: “The planned events offer a great opportunity to learn how the well-being of the Tla’amin Nation is inextricably linked to ours. We encounter racism amongst personal friends and within our own electorate and find our leadership challenged. Our community accord gives both peoples opportunities to openly be aware and discuss the past, change the present and build a strong future, and to do this in a respectful manner.”

There will be four interactive, all-ages open houses, where participants can learn more about history, reconciliation, local place names and more:

April 12, from 7 to 9 pm, at Dwight Hall; April 20 from 10 am to 12 pm, at Evergreen Theatre; April 23, from 2 to 4 pm, at Evergreen Theatre; and April 30, 7 to 9 pm, during an online open house.

There will also be historical walking tours and film screenings. Participants can go on an historic tour of Townsite, followed by a short film screening of A Canoe Journey, followed by a short discussion. Sessions include: April 9, from 10 am to 1 pm, meet at Henderson House, ending at the Patricia Theatre; April 30 from 10 am to 1 pm, meet at Henderson House, ending at the Patricia Theatre.

For membership-based organizations, the joint working group will give a presentation with consultants to the organization’s members and answer questions about the project.

For more information about events or to register, or to sign up for the email list to receive the latest project updates, go to

Questions can be sent to the project team at [email protected].