A totem pole erected by the K’ómoks First Nation stands on the band's lands on the end of Goose Spit on Feb.12th, 2018. The pole is part of a larger project by K’ómoks First Nation to signify their traditional territories in the Comox Valley. Photo by James Wood/98.9 The Goat/Vista Radio
COMOX, B.C. – K’ómoks First Nation, 19 Wing Comox, and the Department of National Defence (DND) took part in a signing ceremony today that will provide the Nation with access to its reserve lands on Goose Spit in Comox.
Colonel Martin Gros-Jean, Commander of Real Property Operations for DND, along with 19 Wing Comox acting commander Lieutenant-Colonel Curtis Wright joined K’ómoks First Nation Chief Nicole Rempel for a ceremony that formalizes shared access to the Goose Spit peninsula.
While the DND and the K’ómoks First Nation have coordinated shared access to the Goose Spit peninsula for many years, this agreement formalizes the access arrangement.
According to a release, “The DND is committed to renewing and strengthening our relationships with Indigenous peoples in the communities where we operate.”
“The agreement reinforces the relationship between 19 Wing Comox and the K’ómoks First Nation,” the release said.
“It provides the Nation with continued access to its reserve lands on Goose Spit through DND’s HMCS Quadra site, and DND with access to the tip of the peninsula to support ongoing maritime search and rescue training. DND recognizes the importance of our relationship with the K’ómoks First Nation, and we look forward to continuing to work together in the spirit of renewal and reconciliation.”
Rempel said Goose Spit has both historical and cultural significance for the people of K’ómoks First Nation: “In the past, our ancestors used it as a burial ground for our deceased as well as a place to harvest traditional medicines. We have been working on both the access agreement as well as the return of the Spit for decades and celebrate this milestone for our Nation.”
19 Wing Comox Commander Colonel Mike Atkins said, “We look forward to continuing our great relationship with the K’omoks First Nation to better our communities and achieve our common goals.”
Gros-Jean said he was honoured to be able to take part in this ceremony with the K’ómoks First Nation.
“This agreement solidifies our intent to build on our existing relationship, guided by mutual respect and understanding,” he added.
- Located south of the 19 Wing Comox property, the Goose Spit peninsula is used by the Canadian Armed Forces for search and rescue, marine, and military readiness training activities. It is also the site of the HMCS Quadra naval cadet training camp.
- A former Royal Navy outpost, the Navy used Goose Spit as a haven for ships serving on the west coast of North America as early as the mid-1800s.
- Goose Spit became a sea cadet training establishment in 1952 and was commissioned as HMCS Quadra in 1956, operating continuously ever since.
The Canadian Forces School of Search and Rescue (CFSSAR) officially opened the doors of its training complex at 19 Wing Comox on February 3, 1998.
Its mission is to facilitate all Search and Rescue training and all CAF Sea Survival training.