There’s now more places to take a break and enjoy the sights and sounds of Wul’aam Park in Chemainus.
It may not be peak season for walking the trails at the moment, but when spring arrives and the snow has melted for good, people will find the park now includes two new benches provided by the Rotary Club of Chemainus to complement two others on the trail route previously installed by the Municipality of North Cowichan.
“We worked with them to do a project with Parks and Recreation,” said Tom Andrews, the director of service projects for Chemainus Rotary.
It all began with a collaboration with Don Stewart, North Cowichan’s former director of Parks & Recreation, and in turn, Parks and Trails manager Keona Wiley.
Special features at the park have been taking shape since its development to enhance the experience.
New signage in Hul’q’umi’num was just unveiled during a ceremony in June. The names and signage were developed by students at Penelakut School, together with elders who shared their traditional knowledge and language.
Rotary helped put its stamp on the project with the recent installation of two benches that will later be more easily identified with the Rotary logo stamped on the ends. Rotary didn’t have to look far for the right man to do the job on the benches: master craftsman Mark Staples.
“If Rotary’s coming to me, there’s a good reason for it,” said Staples. “If they need something done, I can’t say ‘no.’”
“He’s also done some framing for our mural society,” added Andrews, who doubles as president of the Chemainus Festival of Murals Society.
Staples has a shop in Maple Bay and went to work on making two benches from one piece of wood, with assistance from John Joe.
“We had to cut the log directly in half,” explained Staples. “Both are from the same tree. It’s a mirror image of the other one.”
The beautiful piece of Western red cedar was then stained.
“It’s a finish that North Cowichan specifies,” added Staples. “It matches all the kiosks and signage that is all stained the same colour.”
He bought the wood from a local mill that gets its supply from the Shoal Islands.
“I was looking for just the right log,” said Staples. “When this one came in, it was just the right diameter and didn’t taper too much. I tried to find one that hadn’t started to hollow too much.”
The benches are located in nice secluded spots and look great.
“We’re lucky to have him to do this stuff,” Andrews said of Staples.
Wul’aam Park is located at 3217 Channel Blvd. at Echo Heights Road in Chemainus. There is also an entrance point at the end of Creegan Drive.