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People first, says councillor
A RECENT letter sent to the city calling for the McLaren family to be first in line for future street naming has caused councillor Lynne Christiansen to renew her call to name streets after people and not trees and inanimate objects.
“I have been pretty adamant that we should stick to naming our streets after people. It’s the more difficult thing to do because it’s easier to just pick a name of a tree, but when it comes to naming people, there is controversy over who it should be,” said Christiansen.
She explained that the tradition of naming streets after people has weakened because it’s easier to just choose namesakes that can’t complain about the selection.
A letter from Sharone O’Brien, granddaughter of pioneer Joseph McLaren, asking for his name to be considered, inspired Christiansen to bring up the issue at the October 15 regular council meeting.
“I have sent several letters,” wrote O’Brien to the city staff. “Needless to say, I was (am) very frustrated with the lack of action from the city.”
There are currently 95 names on the list of street name hopefuls. While there are no new streets being built, currently there is ongoing demand for names, and Christiansen wants the city’s street naming policy straightened out before then.
“It’s an honour just to have your name put forward and keep it on file. That’s an honour in itself,” said Christiansen.
Since 2007, four new roads that were christened with names divided 50/50 between human and nonhuman names.
In 2007, the nonhuman name Golden Place was bestowed upon a cul-de-sac off of Halliwell Ave.
Then in 2008, the pendulum swung back to human, with Smith Ave. on the bench named after Terrace pioneer Fred Smith, who operated a store here after the Second World War. Council followed this up with another person-name designation in 2009 for Hallock Place, after the colourful city councillor Ruth Hallock.
However, the pendulum swung back to the inanimate with the naming of Industrial Way on the city airport lands.
Christiansen said she wants pioneer families to have priority, as it provides a sense of continuity with the past and those who struggled to make the town what it is today.
O’Brien’s letter to staff made a case for the McLaren family name, whose members have lived here for nearly 100 years.
Christiansen said she thinks this name would be a good choice considering how they are a highly regarded family by legacy families in the area.
“Let’s hang on to the pioneer name,” said Christiansen.
The long-standing councillor also put out a call earlier this year to have the name Sockeye Creek returned to its original name Eliza Creek after the Kitselas sister of chief Walter Wright and husband of early pioneer Tom Thornhill.