Street naming requests hit red light in Hay River

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Hay River town council has decided to take another look at its policy for naming and renaming streets.

At its Jan. 20 meeting, council was presented with a recommendation from town administration to rename Fairway Drive to Hoffman Way and Commercial Road to Grimsrud Road.

Hay River town council is reviewing the process of naming or renaming streets after receiving two recent requests, including to rename Commercial Road in front of the fire hall.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

Fairway Drive is the road off Highway 2 leading to the golf course/Nordic centre, while Commercial Road passes in front of the fire hall.

Questions about the renaming process were raised even before the meeting officially began with public input from Vince McKay, a former town councillor.

McKay said he did not have a problem with renaming Fairway Drive or Commercial Road.

“However, I know there’s been a bunch of names put forward before council in the past,” he said. “I don’t know where they went, if they’re just been dropped or if they’ve been voted off, or whatever.”

McKay noted, for example, that he had put forward a motion to rename the golf course road as Tordoff Road, while the family of a fisherman had also submitted a letter to council asking that a street be named in his honour.

The former councillor noted that they and other people who have passed on are also worthy to have streets named after them.

“I think council just needs to look at this a little bit more,” he said.

As it turned out, the four councillors at the Jan. 20 meeting unanimously agreed, and voted to table the recommendation to rename Fairway Drive and Commercial Road.

Coun. Brian Willows said the recommended street renaming made him wonder how easy it potentially is to get a street name changed.

“Basically, somebody writes a letter and we agree, and it’s a done deal,” he said. “And it just seems to me that it could be such a contentious issue in a community where there’s a lot of history, there’s a lot of family background.”

Coun. Keith Dohey noted that, at one point, the town had of a waiting list for naming or renaming roads, and he doesn’t know what happened to that list.

Dohey also said it can be a potentially contentious issue.

“I just think we’d be unwise to pass this right now as it is before doing a little bit more background on it,” he said.

And Coun. Steve Anderson agreed it could be a contentious topic.

“I’m not really that in favour of changing street names and this type of thing,” he noted. “I think any new development that would be good to look at that.”

According to background material accompanying the recommended motion, council approved a Town Property, Street Naming and Addressing Policy in October 2018.

The background material states the town has received three requests for the renaming of roads – two for Fairway Drive and one for Commercial Road.

The second submission to rename Fairway Drive will be placed on a waiting list for future road renaming consideration.

Town administration noted that renaming Fairway Drive would only impact the golf club and the Nordic centre, but they jointly suggested the renaming.

The renaming of Commercial Road, which runs from Highway 2 to Capital Drive, would have no impact on mailing addresses since there are no buildings with Commercial Road addresses.

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