A walk through a Bancroft portion of the Hastings Heritage Trail will one day become a chance to learn about Indigenous culture.
Council has voted to work with Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini Algonquin First Nation on its Wàwàtesì project.
Wàwàtesì is Algonquin for firefly. The plan is to light up the portions of the trail along the York River, like fireflies would. Promotional literature for the project says that, in Algonquin culture, fireflies also represent the passage of time, renewal and healing.
During a delegation from the First Nation’s Trevor Minnie on Tuesday, council learned that the project includes, not just lighting of the trails, but also removing graffiti-vandalized signs, planting native species and the creation of graphic designs, written content and photographs for posting along the trail.
The motion that passed asked that Bancroft create a memorandum of understanding to work with the First Nation on the project. It will allow them to work with Bancroft’s new Manager of Infrastructure and Capital Projects to get more work underway.
The project was announced last the summer, when Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini Algonquin First Nation received a provincial grant. It’s not clear when the project will be ready.
But councillors expressed support. Mayor Paul Jenkins said, “I think it’s a great project” and added that “lighting is key for safety” along the trail.