Amid a plan to rename about 20 communities in British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast Regional District, some locals are concerned about the mundane logistics of a municipal name change.
The changes are slated to replace community names – like Madeira Park, named after Madeira Islands native Joseph Gonsalos, who lived in the area in the early 20th century – in the traditional territory of the Sechelt (shíshálh) Nation with Indigenous names. The Sunshine Coast is located on Vancouver’s southern mainland coast.
“One cannot deny that shíshálh Nation people lived here before non-Indigenous people. However, there is also a newer history of the land, one that began with Indigenous and non-Indigenous settlement and that too deserves recognition,” reads an open letter by the Pender Harbour and Area Residents Association.
Among the practical implications of a municipal name change are address changes and mail delivery.
Canada Post media relations officer Valérie Chartrand told the local Coast Reporter newspaper if mailing addresses are affected by a new name, the Crown corporation will “provide free mail redirection service for one year, so they have enough time to manage this change and ensure a smooth transition.”