During this week’s General Committee meeting, Council discussed the development plans and budget for the new park on Hartwell Way. Following extensive work by staff and incorporating valuable public input, the design has evolved to encompass a community garden, a natural playground space, and the addition of a new Indigenous garden. Through ongoing discussions with the staff Indigenous Relations Committee Working Group, it has been determined that an Indigenous Garden in this park would be an ideal location in our community.
I am incredibly excited about this new addition to the park, as it aligns perfectly with the Town’s efforts and commitment to advancing meaningful Truth and Reconciliation. An Indigenous Garden will provide a dedicated space for healing, wellness, culture, and educational opportunities. Moreover, it will serve as a place for reflection for all those affected by the residential school system.
This project marks a significant stride forward in recognizing and celebrating the cultural heritage of our region. The Indigenous garden will showcase native plants, herbs, and flowers that have served as vital resources for Indigenous communities for centuries, encompassing purposes such as sustenance, medicine, and ceremonial practices. It will be a space that honours the deep-rooted history of the land on which the park is situated, paying tribute to the Indigenous peoples who have called this area home for thousands of years.
Our staff believes that the new park on Hartwell Way presents an ideal location for this project, given its nature-oriented design and commitment to community inclusiveness. Additionally, the un-programmed space offers ample opportunities to seamlessly incorporate the Indigenous garden. By creating this garden, we aim to acknowledge and address the historical injustices inflicted upon Indigenous peoples, fostering greater understanding, and respect between different cultures as we strive for a more inclusive and equitable community.
Beyond serving as a place for reflection, the Indigenous garden will act as an educational tool, inviting visitors to learn about the traditional knowledge and practices of the indigenous peoples who inhabited this land. Informative signage and guided tours will offer insights into the cultural significance of the plants, their uses, as well as the rich histories and experiences of our local Indigenous communities.
I am very pleased that this passed at General Committee and I hope it will be ratified next week at Council. And while I recognize that the creation of an Indigenous garden represents only a small step in the broader process of reconciliation, I firmly believe that it is a crucial step towards building a fairer and more just society. It is my hope that this project will inspire other communities to undertake similar endeavours, honouring and acknowledging the heritage of indigenous peoples. I eagerly look forward to continued collaboration with our Indigenous Relations Committee Working Group, staff, residents, and Council as we work together to build a more inclusive and respectful community for all. #leadershipthatgetsthingsdone