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Richmond's Trutch Avenue under scrutiny

A street in Terra Nova, named after a lieutenant-governor who reduced native land rights, could be renamed.
Council is looking at possibly changing the name of Trutch Avenue, located in Terra Nova.

A street in Richmond named after Joseph Trutch might get a new name following similar calls in Vancouver to rename that city’s Trutch Street.

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie made a motion at Monday’s committee meeting to look into renaming Trutch Avenue, located in Terra Nova in an area with streets named after lieutenant-governors.

“Apparently, there have been various suggestions this gentleman had quite a challenging past,” Brodie said at the committee meeting.

In fact, Trutch, as the first lieutenant-governor of B.C. after confederation, reduced some First Nations reserves by up to 90 per cent and spoke with open contempt for Indigenous people.

Trutch denied the existence of treaties signed in the 1850s by James Douglas, a previous lieutenant-governor.

But the City of Richmond itself is currently in court with the Cowichan First Nations over land located in southeast Richmond – 780 acres near Triangle Beach.

Furthermore, there is a dormant lawsuit between the city and the Musqueam First Nations regarding the Garden City Lands.

These two lawsuits have been cited as the reason why Richmond doesn’t do an Indigenous land acknowledgment before public meetings.

Richmond’s Trutch Avenue is only 200 metres long and has about 20 homes on it.

The motion, supported unanimously by council, was to have city staff look into the matter of renaming and report back to council with options.

A suggestion by Coun. Michael Wolfe, however, to investigate whether there are other streets in Richmond that might be equally problematic, was denied by Brodie who said that wasn’t part of the motion being discussed.

“I’m not opening up Pandora’s box here,” Brodie said. “We want to specifically look at Trutch – what are the implications, what’s the situation, what should we do?”

Coun. Alexa Loo suggested the street could be named after Steven Point, who was lieutenant governor from 2007 to 2012. Point is Indigenous and is a retired provincial court judge and the former Chancellor of UBC.

Brodie said the investigation into the name would be done in consultation with the residents of Trutch Avenue.

- with files from the Victoria Times-Colonist