Shawn Thibault works on removing clay from the cracks of a 150-year-old tombstone at Pioneer Square Park.

Discovery of four human bones bump up Victoria’s Pioneer Square costs

Archeologist bill expected to surpass $60,000, says city official

  • Oct. 11, 2013 10:00 a.m.

The unanticipated discovery of human remains during reconstruction work at Pioneer Square Park will cost the City of Victoria at least $62,000, according to city officials.

Crews uncovered a human bone on Sept. 11, less than a half-metre below an asphalt pathway that was being removed. Since then, another three bones have been uncovered at surprisingly shallow depths during pathway and lighting upgrading, said Kate Friars, director of parks.

“All of (the human remains) have since been in the hands of the archeologists,” she said.

Provincial archeologists have been conducting onsite work since mid-September and have removed and catalogued the bones. It hasn’t yet been determined when the human remains will be returned to the site, nor how they will be reburied.

The majority of aesthetic work in the park, which includes the restoration of grave markers, the removal of some invasive trees and replanting of native foliage, is scheduled to be completed by Nov. 11, Friars said.

“Given the weather’s improved somewhat, we’ve been making great strides,” she said.

A planned pilot street closure of Rockland Avenue between Quadra and Vancouver streets is also still being negotiated with leaders at Christ Church Cathedral, who rely on the street to access one of its parking lots, she said.

The park’s facelift is budgeted to cost $762,000, with about half that amount being spent this year.

The additional archeology costs will be absorbed into the city’s capital budget and reported back to council at the end of the fiscal year, Friars said.

“We won’t know specifically until the end of the year (how it impacts the parks budget),” she said.

Pioneer Square was used as the city cemetery between 1855 and 1873. There are an estimated 1,300 mostly unmarked human remains buried within the park.



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VicPD reunites four-year-old boy with family after he snuck out a window

The boy was spotted wandering alone on Wednesday morning

Camosun College to produce more than 9,000 face shields for Island Health workers

An innovative new design will allow for mass production of face shields for use across Canada

COVID-19: More than 120,000 B.C. food service jobs lost, restaurants begin to shutter permanently

Restaurants Canada estimates $3 billion sales drop due to pandemic

West Shore RCMP search for man wanted on 15 outstanding warrants

Steven Sandhu is believed to be living in View Royal

‘We’re running out of options’: Victoria looks to other municipalities to help shelter homeless

Victoria Curling Club, Crystal Pool ruled out as options for the 250 people remaining outside

First Nations, remote communities need special attention in pandemic, Freeland says

Health-care workers, seniors, Indigenous Peoples some of people most at risk, health officials say

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

COVID-19: ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’ recorded and released

LISTEN: Quick turnaround for song penned by B.C. Order of Canada musician Phil Dwyer

B.C. adding $300 to monthly income and disability assistance payments

‘Crisis supplement’ for COVID-19 for April, May and June

‘A matter of human decency’: Truckers’ union calls on gas stations, rest stops to fully re-open

Teamsters Canada wants feds, provinces to put pressure on facilities to re-open for transport workers

Hip tradition sing-along planned again for Canadians April 2

The Tragically Hip’s Paul Langlois is encouraging all to join him virtually in a’Porch Session.’

Migrant worker advocates blame feds, employers for COVID-19 outbreak at B.C. garden store

Migrant farm worker group calls on government for adequate health and safety requirements

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

Most Read