Friday, 28 December 2012

A commemoration for the unknown victim / re-evaluation for the future

Candle lanterns set for the ceremony commemorating the unknown victim. Belle Isle to Curling pathway. Dec. 23rd

This past summer our community was rocked by the discovery of badly-decomposed human remains aside the pathway linking Belle Isle Place to Curling Road.  This public thoroughfare, used daily by dozens of pedestrians and cyclists of all ages, from both this community and from across the North Shore, lies next to the 4.35 acre vacant lot, scheduled to soon be reborn as a mixed-use, medium density redevelopment of seniors housing, condos and community centre to serve the Lower Capilano neighbourhoods.

On Sunday, the 23rd, a small group of local residents gathered to observe and participate in a cleansing ceremony, conducted by Eugene Harry, an elder of the Squamish Nation, to set free the spirit of the still-unknown victim discovered in August.  Participants in the ceremony included those living directly adjacent to the site.  As part of the ceremony several residents spoke of the taint on the neighbourhood, and their sense of personal guilt and unrest created by the unwelcome discovery, albeit that it appears that the victim was murdered elsewhere and subsequently transported to the site.

The discovery of human remains in a residential neighbourhood has finally put paid to any notion that our neighbourhood is unneedfull of change and rehabilitation.  The realization that this neighbourhood would serve as a suitable dumping ground for bodies put an end to those ideas forever.

The emerging plans for the proposed Village Centre call for the 20 foot wide strip of right-of-way stretching from Curling Road to Fullerton Avenue to be reborn as a tree-lined cycle and foot path, backed on one side by the Belle Isle homes and on the other by three-storey townhomes facing onto the pathway.  It will not be a place where unknown victims are found rolled into a ditch.

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