The first of three Telkwa Community Church Christmas-themed story walks in Smithers on the Perimeter Trail near Elk’s Park. There are also story walks in Telkwa and Houston. (Submitted photo)

The first of three Telkwa Community Church Christmas-themed story walks in Smithers on the Perimeter Trail near Elk’s Park. There are also story walks in Telkwa and Houston. (Submitted photo)

Christmas theme story walk planned for Houston

New location found after council turns down initial request

A Telkwa church is presenting Christmas-themed story walks in Smithers, Telkwa and Houston over the next three weeks.

Joe Ellis, pastor of the Telkwa Community Church said the three stories they will present leading up to Christmas are “Silent Night,” “The Shelter,” and “Shoemaker Martin.”

In Smithers the location is along the section of the Perimeter Trail adjacent to Elk’s Park.

In Telkwa, the location is along the walking path between Eddy Park and the Telkwa Bridge.

The images for the Telkwa and Smithers walks are 11 inches by 17 inches and the signs are four feet high with the number of signs ranging from 15 to 20 depending upon the weekly theme. They will be maintained by church volunteers.

“We will host another story walk on Christmas Eve, Ellis said. “We are calling this walk “The Lantern Walk of Wonder.” We haven’t yet confirmed the location for that story walk.”

Meanwhile in Houston, a request to use Steelhead Park in Houston as a location for the three story walk was denied by council, but the curch has found a new place to place sign boards.

“I did experience some sadness that our proposal was not accepted by the Houston council,” Ellis said, following the District of Houston council’s decision made at its Dec. 7 meeting.

“Steelhead Park would have been ideal just because it’s a place that people already frequent but Cindy Verbeek has graciously said that we can use the nature centre in Houston to host the story walk so we are still going forward in Houston.”

The plan had been to mount three separate story themes, one for each week beginning Dec. 13 and ending January 1 from exploring the Christmas story to showing hospitality to strangers, said Ellis.

“We have members of our church community who love Houston — we also like the idea of fostering a sense of solidarity between our three communities in the Bulkley Valley through these story walks,” Ellis said.

The church’s letter to the District of Houston did not contain details as to the size of the signs or maintenance measures, information council members indicated was lacking in unanimously deciding to file the letter and take no further action.

Ellis said the church would include such information in any future requests.

This is not the first time Houston council turned down a request for a story walk at Steelhead Park.

A request in January by Houston Link to Learning and the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre for something similar to mark Family Literacy Week was initially turned down although the two groups did receive permission, after making a presentation to council, to place signs considered temporary and for one week only pending an agreement for permanent fixtures.

Council, however, has not been completely amenable to the idea of story walks at Steelhead Park, citing aesthetics, and subsequent story walks have been planned for other locations.

In addition to hosting the Telkwa Community Church story walks, the Buck Creek Canfor Hatchery and Nature Centre has been the location for other story walks.

– With files from Thom Barker