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Issue of renaming streets returns to North Battleford City Hall

Feedback from public about renaming Railway Avenue was mostly negative: City planner
blank street signs
Discussion goes on at council over whether to rename any of the three "Railway" avenues in the city.

NORTH BATTLEFORD - The discussion on the renaming of streets in North Battleford was back at the city’s Planning Committee meeting on Tuesday night.

Council had previously heard a presentation in August from Marilyn Richardson calling for Indigenous street names in the city. She particularly called for the renaming of Railway Avenue, South Railway Avenue and Railway Avenue West to Indigenous names, to better reflect the diverse population of North Battleford.

On Tuesday, City Planner Ryan Mackrell brought forward the current policy to the committee meeting for discussion.

In his presentation Mackrell did note the implications of changing the name of a street. Those include associated Land Titles costs, changes to street signs, and implications for people or businesses who live along the street in terms of changing their business cards and so on.

Mackrell noted that right now there is no public notice requirement included in their policy, but said he liked the idea of having some notice or advertising period. That would allow the public to be consulted and provide feedback, and consider any possible changes before they happen.

On a related note, city officials acknowledged Tuesday they had gotten plenty of feedback to the proposal at the August council meeting to rename the “Railway” avenues. Most of those comments were negative.

“There was a lot of negativity based around that,” said Mackrell. “People typically don’t like change right away.”

It was a wide ranging discussion at Tuesday’s meeting of the policy. The consensus from the meeting is that an updated policy was needed, and the indication from administration is to bring the policy back to council in the future.

As for whether any of the “Railway Avenues” might be renamed, there was considerable discussion on that topic.

There was particular sentiment for possibly renaming Railway West in the future. Council made clear they were more open to the idea of renaming that particular street, as it might pose the least disruption to potential residences or businesses along the street.

Councillors Kelli Hawtin and Thomas Bill Ironstand wanted to go further and consider the option of renaming at least two of the three streets. No final decisions were made, and the whole discussion is likely to return to council in the future for more consideration.

Councillor Len Taylor made it known he was open to the discussions.

“If anyone wanted to rethink which Railway Avenue ought to be renamed I’m not immune to that discussion,” said Taylor.