Resolution Health Support Worker Richard Watts holds an urn that was brought to his office on Third Avenue Monday. (Eric Plummer photo)
Staff and clients at Port Alberni’s Teechuktl Mental Health office made a strange discovery today when someone came in with what appears to be an urn containing cremated remains.
The piece was brought into Teechuktl’s Third Avenue office just after 1 p.m. from a regular client who said she found the urn at the Harbour Quay.
“One of our clients came in after lunch, dropped it off and said she found it in the garbage bin,” said Ina Dick, receptionist for the Qu’asa Program that operates from the office, adding that the client often goes through garbage bins in search for bottles or cans to cash in. “She usually goes to look for empties.”
“She actually just placed it down on the table over there, showed us what she found,” said Dick, adding that Rueben Thomas, another Teechuktl client, was alarmed when he lifted up the lid. “Ruben looked at it and we confirmed that there’s ashes in there.”
The possibility of spreading the ashes in a nearby river was discussed, but Teechuktl staff hope that the urn’s owner will come in to claim the piece and its contents. There does not appear to be any engravings or markings on the outside of the urn to identify its contents.
Richard Watts, a resolution health support worker, has never seen anything like this turn up at the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council’s Teechuktl offices.
“It’s one of those strange things,” he said. “It’s a weird thing - but at the same time, maybe somebody is looking for this.”
“What if it’s stolen?” pondered Dick.
She called the Port Alberni RCMP, but the police department’s reception advised that the urn should stay in the garbage, said Dick.
“Whoever owned it was throwing it away, and there’s no record or anything of them trying to find out who or what it belongs to, and that we should just go dump it out, that’s what she said to us,” said Dick.
The Ha-Shilth-Sa called the Port Alberni RCMP, who suggested that to establish a connection to the owner, a property file could be created if the urn is brought to the local detachment.
In the meantime, Teechuktl staff will wait to see if the urn’s owner comes forward. The office can be contacted at 250-724-3939.