What’s in a name?


A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, or so William Shakespeare would have us believe. But try telling that to St. Albert city council.

While the name council members are grappling with may not be as romantic as the Bard’s tale of star-crossed lovers, it’s nonetheless a significant decision: What do we call the soon-to-be business park now known as the Employment Lands?

Council gave a lukewarm reception to “Lakeview Business District,” recommended by planning branch manager Kristina Peter after consulting with a panel consisting of local history experts and city staff. Council has now voted to postpone any decision until next month.

The Employment Lands area consists of roughly 250 ha (620 acres) to the west of Ray Gibbon Drive and north of Big Lake. Council approved principles for the area last October, which specifies it should focus on high- and medium-density development with high architectural standards, public art, and green space.

Coun. Cathy Heron said she preferred the name “Innovation Gardens, because it’s really botanical,” and reflects the intended innovative nature of the developments in that area.

Coun. Sheena Hughes suggested the area be called the Ray Gibbon District. Coun. Wes Brodhead suggested Riverview Business District. Coun. Bob Russell said he liked Big Lake Business District.

Hughes suggested the postponement, arguing a decision of this much importance shouldn’t be rushed.

“If you have a child you don’t name them in 30 minutes and go forward,” she said. “I suggest we talk it out and give it a bit of time.”

Support for the postponement was not unanimous, with Coun. Cam MacKay suggesting this issue was not so important that it required any more of council’s time.

“Let’s just get this over with. We could come back in a month and still have seven different opinions,” he said.

Peter explained the process for narrowing down the recommended name to Lakeview Business District began by grouping potential names into three categories: geographic references, historical references and aspirational references.

Geographical names considered include Lakeview, Big Lake, Ray Gibbon and Meadowview. Historical names include Belcourt, Tissot, Gillespie and Ferguson. Aspirational names include Innovation and Venture.

The specific recommendation to go with Lakeview came about because of the panel’s preference for geographic names, the term “district” being more reflective of the development’s scale than the term “park,” that the name reflects the geography of Big Lake.

The name “Big Lake” was ruled out as it would create confusion with existing Big Lake area structure plans in Edmonton and Parkland County, while “Meadowview” was ruled out because it might cause confusion with the existing Meadowview Drive to the east.

The topic is expected to return to council next month, with councillors asked to submit notices of motion with their preferred names for debate.


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Doug Neuman