Project coordinator Aaron Hamilton with the new Ts’uu baa-asatx Square signage.

Project coordinator Aaron Hamilton with the new Ts’uu baa-asatx Square signage.

Pole project begins fundraising

Ts’uu baa-asatx First Nations "reciprocal gift" set to be finished carving by the end of August.

Back in November, the local Ts’uu baa-asatx First Nations announced they would be gifting a wooden carving to the Town of Lake Cowichan after being granted naming rights to the new town square, offially called Ts’uu baa-asatx Square. The project is now moving ahead, with the recent announcement of an unveiling date and a fundraising initiative.

The log that will be used has now been split and is sitting in town square. Project coordinator Aaron Hamilton announced that the rough carving of the pole will begin in April and members of the public will be invited to take part in exchange for a donation, with no minimum amount.

“We want to give the community an opportunity to participate,” Aaron Hamilton said. “The pole represents us and our history, but we don’t own it, it belongs to the community.”

To cover the cost of materials and to pay artist Ron Hamilton, a Port Alberni-based artist who will be designing and carving the pole, First Nations are currently seeking sponsorship, primarily with nearby forestry companies and Lake Cowichan businesses. Sponsors will be given a place on nearby signage in return for their donations.

“I’ve seen Lake Cowichan rally behind community projects, so we’re hoping we’ll see that with the carving, considering we’ve never asked for money before,” Aaron Hamilton said.

Ron Hamilton recently submitted his first design sketches for the pole, and the estimated date of completion is late August. Aaron Hamilton said the completion of the project will be celebrated with a traditional ceremony, featuring a blessing of the pole and a man-powered raising of the pole.

“[The project] is a good story of bridging cultures,” Aaron Hamilton said. “It was a great gesture on the town’s part to name the square after us, and we have to reciprocate that.”