New West wants more Indigenous names considered for city streets

Two new streets in Queensborough are being named after men with strong ties to the community – but council wants more Indigenous names available for future consideration.

Council has endorsed Kamachi and Ota as the names of new streets in Queensborough. A staff report notes that the Kamachi families lived on the dyke for many years, with many of the family members employed as fishers; the Ota family lived in the area for many years, with Minoru Ota running a shoe repair shop at Furness Street and Ewen Avenue.

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City council supported the names of the streets but also wants staff to update the policy for naming of streets.

Coun. Chuck Puchmayr said the names on the current list of potential names is “very colonialist” in nature and suggested the list needs to be revised. While there are a few names related to immigrants to Canada, he said couldn’t find any Indigenous names on the list.

 “Our criteria is really missing an Indigenous component,” he said. “We are starting to accelerate the reconciliation process. We are working on some resolutions towards that; we have hired a consultant.”

Mayor Jonathan Cote said it’s probably been eight to 10 years since the policy was adopted, so an update may be in order as the city sometimes gets requests related to the naming of new roads or facilities.

Emilie Adin, the city’s director of development services, said council directed staff in May 2018 to do an update on the city naming practices.

“That is in our work plan,” she said. “As a foundational step, we are working on the focus of the city’s reconciliation actions in building relationships with First Nations and making sure they are involved in the policy work you will be seeing.”

In May 2018, council approved the name Roma as a new street being named in Queensborough, in recognition of the Roma Hall’s role in the community. At that time, council suggested it was time to update the names listed in a Potential Place Names report that was compiled in 2010.

 

 

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