Continue Front Street

Dear editor,

To the Mayor and Council of the Town of Fort Frances, et al:

Renaming it to Front Street would make logical sense, because:

  • the name already exists;
  • the name is well known;
  • the name carries no baggage;
  • the name is not controversial;
  • the name extends the existing Front Street, making more sense than inserting another, new name onto an existing ‘same and continuous road’ when it is not necessary. We all have travelled elsewhere down road X when suddenly the road name changes to another road name for unknown reasons, usually adding to traveller frustration;
  • the home and business numbering system would be simply a natural numerical extension of the existing sequence being compatible to all service providers;
  • many of the new names proposed include ‘person’ names, and history – elsewhere as well as here in our Town – has and is showing controversy when that is done. Serious reflection on using people’s names is absolutely required in each consideration, and perhaps is appropriate when and if done following a complete and full vetting. But, if there is a reasonable alternative, as in the case of “Front Street”, perhaps all that effort, discussion and disagreement can be avoided with full effort, discussion and results focussed on “Front Street”;
  • many of the new names proposed also include ‘non-person’ names, and while they are well intended, will certainly entail current and future disagreement. But, again, if there is a reasonable alternative, as in the case of “Front Street”, all that effort, discussion and disagreement can be avoided.
  • In addition, regarding the input Town Council has received and will receive:

Non-Fort Frances resident in-put, while asked for and received is all well and good but should not be given overriding weight compared to Fort Frances resident input – the singularity of responsibility and ownership of Fort Frances interests lies with the duly elected Council of the citizens of Fort Frances.

  • If Council itself is having difficulties in its own decision-making process, it can always exercise its authority to have a plebiscite on the issue, which would give them clear direction from its residents. Four past controversial events that l can off-hand recall were plebiscites regarding:

To implement Day Light Savings Time, or not;

To change Councillor elections from a combination of At-Large/Ward system to a strictly At-Large system, or not;

To build the Civic Centre, or not; and

To build the Mill Road Overpass, or not.

And in closing on this Road Naming issue, l do wish you well in your deliberations, but also need to point out that whatever and whichever way you decide, it will likely set the course for similar controversy and potential of similar upcoming scenarios of:

Renaming Kings Highway;

Renaming of LaVerendrye Parkway;

Renaming of LaVerendrye Cemetery Columbarium; and

Renaming of Fort Frances.

Bill Naturkach

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