Wally Oppal speaks to the crowd at Paldi. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Wally Oppal speaks to the crowd at Paldi. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

VIDEO: Wally Oppal announces the Paldi has made the historic site list

Paldi joined the list of 15 South Asian communities that have been notified by the provincial government that they are important parts of B.C.’s history.

On a campaign stop Wednesday, May 3, former provincial cabinet minister, judge, and Paldi resident Wally Oppal spoke alongside Cowichan Valley Liberal hopeful Steve Housser to a large crowd gathered at the Paldi Gurdwara, saying that it was wonderful to see such recognition.

He praised the hard work done by a number of people involved with the temple, saying that an official ceremony would be coming in the future.

In 2016 the provincial government worked with Heritage BC to establish a public process to give some of these sites the recognition they deserve. Last month, Paldi was added to that group.

Other Cowichan Valley locations that are on the list for provincial commemoration include Joginder Bains Park in Lake Cowichan, and the former Youbou sawmill site.

Joan Mayo, daughter-in-law of Mayo Singh, said, “I think it’s very special. We’ve waited a long time. And everybody’s been really pulling for it; it’s wonderful that it’s finally coming to a head. There are a lot of stories about Paldi, and it’s interesting when you see some of the younger ones get together and they’ll say, ‘Remember this, remember that!’ It’s really been carrying on for a long time and I’m grateful.”

She also said she was thrilled to see so many people attending the event who were members of the original families or who had some connection to them.

Writer Mahinder Doman was one of them, and she said she’s been pushing for the recognition as well, going back decades.

“Back in 1987, Kim Campbell was chairing the Project Pride Commission, which was looking at heritage sites in British Columbia. I happened to go there and was listening, and thought: No one’s talking about heritage and culture. I made a presentation to them, about Paldi, about the Gurdwara, about the culture and everything about it.”

She said she’s thrilled, too, that the efforts by so many people have been rewarded.