Newfie Lane naming offence surprises residents
Woman complains to Halifax Regional Municipality about Middle Sackville street name
Residents who live on a small street in the Halifax suburb of Middle Sackville say they were surprised to learn the name of their road — Newfie Lane — had offended another resident.
The Halifax Regional Municipality said it recently received a complaint that the name of the street was offensive to a former Newfoundlander, now living elsewhere in the city.
Ruby Clare, a Newfoundlander from Petites now living on Newfie Lane, said she thought the name of her street was "great."
"I loved it. I'm a Newfie, I'm from Newfoundland, I'm proud to be a Newfie," she told CBC News.
"Everybody that I know that are Newfies are proud to be Newfies and they think it's a great name for a lane."
The Halifax Regional Municipality said the woman who complained was concerned "Newfie" can be a derogatory term.
The city's says its policy intentionally stays away from guidelines on what names might be considered offensive.
"When it comes to a name like Newfie Lane, it's understandable that that name is offensive to some and not to others," said Brendan Elliott, a spokesman for the Halifax Regional Municipality.
"That's why the policy doesn't address subjective criteria, it stays with things that are clearly able to be determined."
Elliott said when choosing a name for a street in the Halifax Regional Municipality, there must be unanimous agreement from all homeowners living on the street.
That was the case for Newfie Lane — and the owners of the four houses on the street — when it was named in 2011.
"If there's a case where there's a name that pops up that could be objectionable to some people or offensive to other people, all it takes is one homeowner on that street to say, 'That doesn't make sense, I don't want to live on a street that has that name,'" said Elliott.
Clare said that never happened.
"Everybody on this lane liked the name and agreed to it. Not one person on the lane objected," she said.
"We always raised our kids, it's not what you say but how you say it. But the name of a street? That's like flying your flag."
In order to change the name now, the woman who complained would have to convince all the residents of the street to change it, which they say they don't want to do. She could also ask her councillor to review the criteria that city staff use to evaluate street names.
The woman who made the complaint declined an interview with CBC News.