The Thatch Pub is near the ferry terminal on Hornby Island. Facebook photo

The Thatch Pub is near the ferry terminal on Hornby Island. Facebook photo

Work stops at Hornby Island site after human remains found

Archaeological discovery of a child’s remains at proposed redevelopment site

We know the archaeological discovery of the remains of a child at a site being redeveloped on Hornby Island has put site work on hold.

As to the process of how that happened, the situation is a little less clear.

The project in question is a proposed redevelopment of the Thatch Pub to include building 15 residential units.

A media report referred to issues the K’ómoks First Nation (KFN) had with the process for the project and indicated the KFN had asked for work to be put on hold for meetings with the province, adding that it had not given consent.

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In response to the media coverage and social media comments, the pub posted a lengthy message on its Facebook page.

“We normally refrain from posting on Facebook but we cannot take the mistruths and rumours that are being posted online or in the media any longer,” the March 24 post starts.

The post states it gave email notice to the KFN in January 2020, which received no reply. The developer continued to reach out and met with KFN in September. At that time, concern seemed to be more around the Islands Trust and provincial archaeological branch policies than with the project. Work started in January 2021 and members of the KFN visited last month at which point they and their archaeologist requested changes, including a designated reburial site, additional radiocarbon dating samples and the presence of a KFN member at all times.

“At no time during or after this visit were any issues raised about the site work not continuing on,” the post continues. “We feel we have gone above and beyond in complying with these late requests of KFN.”

One of the points raised in the Thatch post was that there has been no order from the provincial government to shut down work and that the development permits are still in place.

“We did though voluntarily agree to stop work on our site last week, out of respect for and at the request of Chief [Nicole] Rempel and the K’omoks First Nation,” it said.

A spokesperson from the Ministry Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development told Black Press Media the proponent has received permits under the Heritage Conservation Act for an archaeological assessment of the planned development with oversight provided by archaeologists. The ministry did not specify whether the province ordered work to stop.

“As of March 16, 2021, all work on site has ceased to allow discussions between the Ministry, the K’ómoks First Nation and the proponent to inform next steps,” the spokesperson added.

Black Press Media has contacted both KFN and the Thatch Pub for further comment but has yet to hear back. We will update this story as we learn more.

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Indigenous remains