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Oliver ponders street names

Nothing is set in stone when it comes to renaming Oliver’s streets according to one councillor.

Coun. Michael Newman said the first draft of the proposal on street naming options is as much as a discussion paper as it is anything else.

“I don’t think people need to get so excited that this is cast in stone,” he said. “This is a first draft and there will be meetings that the committee will be hosting in the neighbourhoods and hopefully we can have a level-headed discussion about it.”

The street naming report, provided by town staff on Jan.19, considers a numbering scheme, roadway suffixes and themes to identify certain areas and narrow down street names.

Newman said most of the issues around themes have risen in the school neighbourhood area. The first draft of the proposal has this area themed after scientific pioneers, allowing for such street name choices as da Vinci, Galileo and Newton.

“Most of the issues have been focused on the school bench, but I have heard from neighbours throughout, some like it and others don’t. Others aren’t arguing with the process and there is a chunk of people who don’t want us to do anything,” said Newman.

He said that includes the fire department.

“The fire department has remained adamantly opposed to this process from the beginning and I don’t think that has fundamentally changed,” he said, adding the RCMP and ambulance service have shown no objection. “The fire department were very instrumental in bringing in the current system we have. It’s not very popular, but it’s there and they know it.”

Oliver Fire Chief Dan Skaros said the fire department as a membership is not ready to make a public comment on their stance on the street naming process. Skaros also said he was not willing to reply to Newman’s comments to the Penticton Western News about the fire department opposition on the street naming proposal. He said the fire department now acts as a membership, and when they are ready to make a comment they will publish something to the media outlets.

Other themes include the Fairview-Rockcliffe area with mining terms or mineral names, acre lot neighbourhoods with the theme of B.C. rivers, Meadows area with the theme of plant and animal species common to wetlands in the South Okanagan, a West Tuc el Nuit area fruit theme and Lake Perimeter area with a local aquatic bird theme.

Newman said the next step in the process is for the street naming committee to hold another meeting, which he expects to happen within the next week, then there will be another meeting to talk about the technical aspects with stakeholders including Canada Post, emergency services, the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen and the department of highways. After those meetings occur, Newman said the second draft will be presented to residents through public meetings for feedback.

“We are looking to be ready to start work on this by summer and Canada Post probably won’t move forward pre-Christmas, so more likely their work will start in 2012,” said Newman.

In the meantime Newman encourages residents to engage in conversation with their neighbours about the proposal and to connect with him either in person, by phone or via email with any feedback.

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