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Naming of commercial areas stirs council debate

Staff suggest using geography, some of council prefers a more creative approach

By: Victoria Paterson

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 06:00 am

WHAT'S IN A NAME? – A city report suggests that the names of commercial sites should be rooted in geography, while some council members prefer historic references.
WHAT'S IN A NAME? – A city report suggests that the names of commercial sites should be rooted in geography, while some council members prefer historic references.
FILE PHOTO/St. Albert Gazette

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A framework to refer to commercial sites using geographically descriptive terms drew some ire from some members of council on Monday night.

Director of development and planning Carol Bergum presented a report that responded to a previous council motion asking for names for the city’s unnamed significant employment areas, including the employment lands, the Walmart area and the Costco area.

Bergum’s report suggested the larger areas be referred to in terms like the “north trail commercial area” or the Ville Giroux Urban Village, and noted a name for the employment lands in the west would be forthcoming.

“Part of the issue with naming is you want it to help with wayfinding,” Bergum said.

Bergum advised the city has no naming rights on the privately owned sites, like the Walmart site, though suggested it could encourage owners to use appropriate names.

Coun. Gilles Prefontaine and Mayor Nolan Crouse both expressed concerns about not including heritage or branding references.

“The naming convention itself I’m really struggling with, because I just don’t find it represents St. Albert at all and I don’t think it will be used at all other than maybe internally,” Prefontaine said.

Bergum said the use of historical names should be thoughtful and appropriate. She said the suggested framework would assign names to those large commercial and, within those areas, the city or developers could consider themes when deciding on the right names for the developments in that area.

Crouse said St. Albert “can do better than this” when it comes to naming.

“I think we can be a little bit more elegant and a little bit more thorough,” the mayor said, noting “naming is a fundamental part of St. Albert.”

Coun. Tim Osborne wasn’t sure how much time he wanted to see city staff spending to come up with names.

“If people want to call it the Walmart site, they will,” Osborne said, noting names will evolve organically.

Council did pass a motion to receive the report for information, though Osborne and Crouse both voted against it.

Crouse pointed out that staff hadn’t delivered on the motion from June 2013 to propose specific names for sites, and suggested that would have to be dealt with by July 1 to meet the deadline set by council last year.

There is no further council meeting scheduled until July 7.

“Agenda committee will have to deal with that,” Crouse said.


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