County councillors encourage heritage road names
By Jenn Watt
Published Oct. 2, 2018
During an update of Haliburton County’s civic addressing bylaw at a Sept. 26 council meeting, councillors said they’d like to include in the resolution encouragement for private road owners to use names that pay tribute to the heritage of the community.
Algonquin Highlands Mayor Carol Moffatt said that while private road owners can obviously name their roads whatever they want, “Is there any consideration for directing people to potentially heritage-related names, in order to retain the heritage of the community?”
Moffatt pointed out that each of the county’s municipalities have cultural plans, heritage-related organizations and museums that would be able to provide historical information relevant to various parts of the county.
“Not to get into telling people what they have to name their roads – they’re their roads,” she said, but added that perhaps if people had access to some heritage-related choices, they might choose them.
Moffatt said a number of roads have arbitrary or banal names. In one case, she said there had been a proposal to name a road near Beech Lake using a First Nations word for the waterbody.
“The county denied that, saying it was too difficult to pronounce, and I can’t say out loud what I would call that in this meeting,” she said. “But now we’ve lost a piece of history.”
Moffatt’s colleagues agreed with the idea.
“I know the historical society did a study on historical names and I think it would be pretty easy to get that list,” said Dysart et al Mayor Murray Fearrey.
“There’s historical context,” said Minden Hills Mayor Brent Devolin. “Can we coach, give a grocery list, if that can be included.”
“In the end it’s their decision,” Devolin said, but agreed that people might choose historical names if they access to them.
Public works director Craig Douglas said there was a list of names that could be modified, and some wording encouraging the use of heritage names is to be included in the bylaw.
Moffatt said people may be unaware of interesting things that have transpired on or near their property in the past.
“There might just be something where the property owner says, ‘that’s cool,’” she said.