Penticton council moving on with name change

It looks like there is no turning back for Backstreet Boulevard.

It looks like there is no turning back for Backstreet Boulevard.

Despite an impassioned plea from a Westminster Avenue East property owner, Penticton city council voted to give the strip connecting Front Street and Wade Avenue the new name of Backstreet Boulevard. A final vote to adopt the name change will take place on July 22. Jill Beaven says claims by other business owners along the street that no one can find their shops are false.

“That’s not true, I know how busy the street is, there is lots of traffic, it’s right below my window. Burger 55 is extremely busy,” said Beaven, who has lived for 27 years in her building at 37 Westminster Ave., which has retail and residential spaces.

“I thought my objection to the name would carry some weight, but it didn’t,” said Beaven. She is concerned that the name Backstreet will give the wrong impression of the area, linking it with drugs, prostitution and other crime.

“There is nothing wrong with Westminster Avenue East and changing a name is the most costly and confusing thing you can do,” said Beaven.

However, her concerns didn’t stop council from moving forward with Backstreet.

“This is something the business owners wanted. Victorian morals aside, I don’t think there is much of a problem with that name,” said Coun. Wes Hopkin.

This is the third time the name change has been before council. It was first dismissed, then approved at a subsequent meeting before being rescinded again in June because proper procedure had not been followed.

With all property owners on the street now properly notified, most of the councillors were in support of the name change, which a number of the business owners had signed a petition in favour of.

Coun. John Vassilaki remained firmly opposed, agreeing with some of Beavan’s points, while Coun. Andrew Jakubeit wavered before casting his vote against the name change.

“I think the bigger issue is we don’t really have a policy. No matter what we decide, someone is not going to like it,” said Jakubeit.

There will be no further opportunity for public input before adoption.