Nova Scotia

Cornwallis Street in Sydney a step closer to getting a new name

Cape Breton Regional Municipality removed all the road signs on Cornwallis Street in Sydney last month after a local Mi'kmaw man threatened to take them down himself. Now, councillors have approved the process for picking the street's new name.

A list of 29 names has been sent to residents and property owners to get feedback before final name chosen

Cape Breton Regional Municipality has sent a list to residents and property owners on Cornwallis Street in Sydney hoping to select a new name now that the road signs are gone. (Brent Kelloway/CBC)

Some Sydney residents are one step closer to a new civic address and Cape Breton Regional Municipality may be getting a new street renaming policy.

The municipality removed all the road signs on Cornwallis Street last month after a local Mi'kmaw man threatened to take them down himself.

Now, CBRM councillors have approved the process for picking the street's new name.

Coun. Eldon MacDonald urged the municipality to get new street signs up quickly during Tuesday's council meeting.

"I have serious concerns with the emergency aspect of this with 911 calls," he said.

The signs went down one day after Danny Paul objected to the name, saying it reminds Mi'kmaw people of the bitter legacy left by Halifax founder Edward Cornwallis.

Paul suggested Carl (Campy) Crawford or Donald Marshall Jr. would be more appropriate names for the street.

CBRM Coun. Jim MacLeod says the municipality promised street residents would have a say in choosing a new name and council should stick to that. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

Coun. Jim MacLeod said council should stick to its promise to let those with property on Cornwallis Street pick a new name.

"It should be left up to the residents and that should be the end of it," he said.

Mayor Cecil Clarke said the signs were taken down quickly to defuse the situation last month.

Now, the renaming process is moving forward as quickly as possible, he said.

"With the dialogue and the sensitivity around this, people are putting every effort in," said Clarke.

CBRM staff surveyed residents and came up with a list of 29 names they say meet the municipality's naming policy:

Paruch Street/Drive Justice Street Family Drive
Breeze Street/Avenue Legacy Street Gaelic Road
Campy Crawford Doug Street Freedom
Reconciliation Road Goodwill Avenue City View Street
Jellybean Street Dragonfly Avenue Hope Street
Bluenose Street Myles Burke Street Jingle Bell Way
Jean Baptiste Street Rita MacNeil Big Jim MacLean Street
Cpl. Greg MacLean Froto Street Cannonading Street
Big Jim Way Constantine Street Maverick Street
Archie MacRury Drive Magnolia Street  

 

People on the street are now being given two weeks to select one name from the list. The three names selected most will be put into a hat and the final name will be chosen at random by staff.

The municipality says once that's done, new signs will be put up. Staff say the process could take a couple of months, but it could be accelerated if people on the street agree.

Council discussed some of the names on the suggested list and it turns out at least one is a deceased military veteran.

Coun. Earlene MacMullin says two streets in North Sydney were recently renamed using different criteria, raising the possibility of confusion around council's naming policy. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

Coun. Steve Gillespie said confusion arose recently during the renaming of Harbourview Drive in Sydney River over whether using the names of military veterans or heroes was part of council's policy.

Coun. Earlene MacMullin said that was a suggestion, but not a requirement. She said two streets in North Sydney were recently renamed using different criteria, one of which was using a military veteran's name.

Clarke said once the renaming of Cornwallis Street is settled, municipal staff will have to review the naming policy and make changes.

"We do need to have a CBRM-wide policy as Coun. MacMullin alluded," he said.

"There was a former Town of North Sydney policy. There was different practices within different municipal units and this renaming has brought to light that there isn't a consistent approach."

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About the Author

Tom Ayers

Reporter/Editor

Tom Ayers has been a reporter and editor for more than 30 years. He has spent the last 16 years covering Cape Breton and Nova Scotia stories. You can reach him at tom.ayers@cbc.ca.

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