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Elementary students get Qualicum Beach pond renamed

Contaminant Pond will now be called Salamander Pond, thanks to the students’ efforts.

What’s in a name?

For more than 300 Qualicum Beach Elementary School students who voted to change the name of a picturesque and popular Qualicum Beach pond, a lot.

The pond in question, which had the unfortunate moniker of Contaminant Pond, will now be called Salamander Pond thanks to the students’ efforts, with a sign expected to be mounted in the new year.

The pond was renamed for what kindergarten teacher Ashley Kuramoto said are rough-skinned newts in the area.

The outdoor education specialist leads children on weekly field trips to the pond, about a 20-minute walk from the school. Other teachers use it for field trips, too.

Students learn about flora and fauna at the pond, including eagles, herons, frogs and dragonflies.

In warmer weather, they peer into the water to see orange-bellied newts with brown backs.

Children are taught to respect nature, not to touch the animals and to be stewards of the environment, Kuramoto said.

Her mission to change the pond’s name was inspired by her self-published outdoor-themed scavenger hunt colouring books for children.

She was working on her fourth book, to be set in Nanaimo, and wanted to include the pond, but was surprised to learn that it was called Contaminant Pond.

She contacted the city about changing the name, and Qualicum Beach council unanimously voted this month in favour of a new name.

The 50-foot by 20-foot pond dates to 2000, when the municipality was working on Laburnum Road, said Qualicum planning director Luke Sales.

The road runs through environmentally sensitive areas and the pond is in place to help protect them in case of run-off.

It was built as a containment pond, but the name changed over the years to Contaminant Pond.

The name does not indicate that there are any contaminants in the pond, Sales said.

Kuramoto, whose work is at, donates a portion of profits to charities. So far, she has donated $8,000, she said.

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