Councillors side with developer in neighbourhood name dispute
'I will cringe forever when I go past that sign,' says Mayor Don Iveson
City councillors have sided with developers in a dispute over the naming of three new neighbourhoods in southwest Edmonton, but many of them felt it wasn't their decision to make.
Against the advice of the city's volunteer naming committee, councillors voted to change the neighbourhood names to The Uplands, Stillwater, and Rivers Edge — the names put forward by Qualico Communities, Walton Developments, Sunwapta Holdings and Mattamy Homes.
Mayor Don Iveson was the only member of council's executive committee to vote against the names.
"I think we're just picking names of out the hat," Iveson said.
He took particular issue with Rivers Edge, which isn't grammatically correct since there's only one river. He said it should be "River's Edge" instead.
"I will cringe forever when I go past that sign," he said.
Other councillors struggled to understand why they were tasked with making the decision.
Coun. Dave Loken said he understood the importance of naming a community after vetoing a house his wife wanted to buy because of the name of the street. But, he said, the decision shouldn't be up to councillors.
However they were surprised learn they couldn't pick and choose which names to approve, and if they asked the developers and the naming committee to try to work together again, the committee would have the final say.
"The balance of power is all in the hands of the naming committee," said Coun. Mike Nickel, who voted in favour of the developer's proposed names.
The naming committee initially called the neighbourhoods Balsam Wood, Golden Willow and River Alder. Committee chair Jamie Post said he was disappointed with the councillors' decision.
Brad Armstrong, vice-president of community development for Qualico, said he was relieved they wouldn't have to spend any more time debating the issue. He said it's taken a year to get to this point.
"[The names] have a nice ring to them," Armstrong said. "They're relatively easy to say, and they'll be easy to market."
Final neighbourhoods to be named
Post said it's very rare for a name to be appealed at executive committee. He said usually the process is very collaborative, but it wasn't in this case.
"This process was, to put it mildly, difficult," said Post.
"Rather than meeting with the developer on an ongoing basis it sort of reached the point where it was just cut off."
Post said it may be because Riverview is one of the last pieces of land available for development in the city, until more is annexed.
"This is kind of the last part of the city where I think this developer in particular would get a chance to have a grand scheme for an entire area," Post said.
What do you think Edmonton's new neighbourhoods should be named? Let us know in the comments below