View Royal released the results last week of an archaeological survey conducted on the site of the future new fire hall.
Although the full report has not yet been released, an executive summary states that the assessment found no indication of any archaeological significance to the property in the 300 block of Island Highway.
“No archaeological materials or features were observed during this assessment and no items or features of historical significance were identified,” reads the summary.
Six pre-contact shell midden sites are located within about 500 metres of the project land and one burial cairn is about 100 metres from the site, but nothing closer or within the 2.4 acre property itself, according to the report.
When View Royal bought the property last year, the provincial archeology branch confirmed the land contained no registered archeological sites.
But a detailed assessment was carried out by Golder Associates at the request of View Royal following concerns from a few residents living near the property that the site may have some connection with First Nation’s history. The archeology work cost the Town about $18,000.
View Royal fire Chief Paul Hurst said the full report confirms what he understood all along — the site contains no First Nations burial sites or historical artifacts.
“We did our due diligence when we obtained the property,” Hurst said. “However, because there were allegations made against the Town that we were desecrating graves, we were ignoring First Nations traditional territories, we had to defend against those allegations.”
Local First Nations communities have been consulted throughout this process and Hurst said that both Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations officials have seen the report and agree with its findings. An archeology expert with Songhees previously told the Gazette the site had no First Nations cultural heritage.
“It’s important that we recognize that this is their traditional territory, and I respect that,” Hurst said. “The citizens have to have confidence that we’re doing everything right, that’s why we’ve hired the experts to do these things.”