Mono takes steps toward commemorative naming policy

July 6, 2023   ·   0 Comments


Mono’s heritage group urged council to adopt a community-centred approach to commemorating people of local historical significance.

Mono council asked the Mono Heritage Advisory Committee in May to recommend a policy on naming public spaces and roads. The committee forwarded guidelines for such tasks during council’s June 27 meeting.

The suggested policy is to provide guidance on the process of selecting a name for new parks, roads, or any other municipal public space. 

A commemoration is an intentional act of acknowledging the memory of people, places, events, and ideas, according to a report forwarded to council.

“Public commemorations – such as the naming of streets and properties, and representation in monuments and plaques – are one way that communities demonstrate what they believe is important to remember,” reads the report.

This community-centred approach addresses who and what is recognized, commemorated, or honoured through town street names, monuments, and heritage property names such as civic buildings or park names.

Deputy Mayor Fed Nix said the suggested guidelines are very broad in scope.

“I didn’t know when I finished reading it what the policy should be,” he said. “Except it should be all-encompassing, make sure we’ve talked to everyone, and got all the stories, and covered off all the bases.”

Mayor John Creelman said there has been a process used in the past for naming places and roads. The committee guidelines streamline that former process.

“I think what this advice does is it puts a bit of a framework around a process that we’ve already used,” Creelman said. “And hopefully have used successfully.”

The Heritage Advisory Committee recommends that the guiding principles for commemoration should aim to promote a broader understanding of the history and legacy of the Town of Mono.

Councillor Ralph Manktelow said there are some good points in the recommendations, and he believes Nix can marshal them into a suitable commemoration policy.

Proposals to commemoratively name or rename public property must demonstrate that they meet the guiding principles.

Place names should be informed by historical research, traditional knowledge, and community insights. The community should be engaged for input. Name suggestions must include stories behind the commemorations to engage residents in conversation about shared history. 

“Commemorations are meant to celebrate great events or people important to the town’s history,” the committee said in its report. “This should be expanded to include significant events to indigenous peoples, Black community, and equity-deserving groups.”

This includes recognizing the contributions of under-represented groups such as women, youth, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ2S, and settlers.

Creelman said one of the things asked of the committee was that a name for the Island Lake Family Park be provided. Although, there’s no mention of that in the report.

Council has twice asked residents to provide suggestions for the park, and nothing has come of it.

Coun. Elaine Capes said the committee felt it was appropriate for council to finalize the naming guidelines before they’re implemented by way of determining a moniker for the Island Lake Family Park.

“Naming those parks is a secondary ask to the committee,” Capes said.

Coun. Melinda Davie said she finds it difficult to see an actual policy come from the broad advice.

“This is very nice, but it’s not very directed,” Davie said.

Capes enquired about the apparent urgency to name the Island Lake Family Park.

Kim Heaton, the town’s recreation director, said the urgency is that the town got a grant to help create the park. And there are certain timelines associated with that grant.

She said there needs to be an official opening within a specific time of the park’s mid-July completion. That’s in contrast to the next heritage committee meeting in September.

Manktelow said it’d be nice to have a name for the park when it’s officially opened.

Creelman suggested the heritage committee meet to name the park before the next council meeting.

“I just don’t want is to go through another season of confusion over people thinking Island Lake Family Park is part of the Island Lake Conservation Area,” the mayor said.

Council agreed that the heritage committee will meet prior to the next council meeting to decide a recommended name for the park.

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