Penticton council plays name game

Penticton city council was not mindful to change the name of Westminster Avenue East to Backstreet Boulevard

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet,” Juliet proclaimed to Romeo.

Penticton city council was not mindful of this Shakespearean advice when it struck forward, without public consultation, to change the name of Westminster Avenue East to Backstreet Boulevard.

The City has a bylaw relating to the naming of streets and the process to change them; however, notwithstanding the bylaw, council approved the name change to Backstreet Boulevard.

For clarification, Westminster Ave. E. begins at the Starbucks/ReMax corner and Front Street, and runs east toward Penticton Creek and winds around the curve where the Kokanee/En-Tee-Tuek sculpture is, goes south emptying onto Nanaimo Avenue.

What happened was, city council did a quick motion to change the name of Westminster Ave. E to Backstreet Boulevard, and learned later they had violated their own bylaw, and, had to quietly rescind the motion and start again.

I’m not sure where the name ‘Backstreet Boulevard’ comes from, nor, what process was used to choose it among other choices, if there were any others put forth.

What’s in a name? Lots. Our city has been trying to brand the name ‘Penticton — A Place To Stay Forever’ as a concept, or, more importantly, an emotion.

What does Backstreet mean to most people in our community? Something cool? A business opportunity?

Another strip joint? We have Front Street, so, why not a Backstreet?

Maybe it means nothing, or, sounds better than simple old Westminster Ave. E. What about naming the street after some of the women, First Nations women, who have made our community what it is.

So, if we are going to start re-naming streets in our community, let’s have everyone involved, not just a neat idea for a passing trend, or, a business. A friend of mine who is a mattress warranty inspector, not kidding they exist, told me, “It’s all a matter of personal choice.” Let’s make this a community choice.

We have not had an opportunity to have our choices heard.

Let’s write, telephone, or email members of city council with your choice, that is if you think we need to change the name in the first place.

Murray Mason