City of Regina
Saskatchewan CA

RPC Public Report
RPC18-23
Approved as Amended
Nov 7, 2018 4:00 PM

Civic Naming Committee Guideline Review

Information

Department:Office of the City ClerkSponsors:
Category:Not Applicable

Report Body

g Number

CONCLUSION

 

At the request of City Council, the Administration conducted public consultation on proposed changes to the Street/Subdivision and Park Naming Guidelines.  The public consultation recommended:

·         prohibiting duplicate and soundalike naming of parks and streets for health and safety and wayfinding purposes;

·         utilizing street and park naming as an opportunity to address diversity and reconciliation;

·         compelling use of the backlog of names on the Master Lists for Street and Park Naming;

·         establishing circumstances under which renaming of a street or park would be permitted;

·         allowing for coordination of naming with regional partners to improve health and safety and wayfinding.

 

The Administration recommends that a new Civic Naming Committee Guideline be adopted to replace the Street/Subdivision and Park Naming Guidelines.  It is recommended that the new guideline address the issues identified during the public consultation process.  The Administration further recommends that new Terms of Reference for the Civic Naming Committee be adopted.

 

It is within the delegated authority of the Regina Planning Commission to approve the policy and guidelines for names of streets, city facilities and parks, in accordance with the Bylaw No. 2009-40 The Committee Bylaw.

 

BACKGROUND

 

The Civic Naming Committee was established in 2003 as an Administrative Committee, under the delegated authority of the City Manager, for the purpose of:

 

·         Considering completed applications which identify names, events, or other aspects of the environment on proposed park, street and subdivision names in accordance with approved Policy;

·         Working with the Regina Public Library Board staff and others in the community as required to do background research on proposed names;

·         Making recommendations to the Executive Committee on Policy changes; and

·         Submitting an annual report to City Council for information through the Executive Committee on the names that were added to the master list and any changes that were made to the Policy during the year.

 

In addition, the Civic Naming Committee has the delegated authority to approve names to be added to the master list as possible park, street or subdivision names for use in the city of Regina based on the approved Policy.  The current Street/Subdivision Guidelines are attached as Appendix D for reference.  The current Park Naming Guidelines are attached as Appendix E for reference.

 

The last review of the Street/Subdivision and Park Naming Guidelines was conducted in 2009.  This latest review was commenced in response to an informal request from City Council to conduct public consultation on proposed changes to the Street/Subdivision and Park Naming Guidelines.

 

The current Terms of Reference are attached as Appendix F.

 

DISCUSSION

 

In response to a request from City Council the Administration has completed public consultation through an online survey and six consultation sessions.  A description of the results of the public consultations are summarized below with supplemental material included in the attached Appendices.  An environmental scan of other jurisdictions is attached as Appendix G.

 

Results of Public Consultations

 

Civic Naming Survey

 

A survey was conducted to gauge public support for potential changes to the Civic Naming Committee Guideline.  The survey received 2,270 completed survey responses over a 19-day live period and generated 125 likes, 65 comments and 95 shares on Facebook.  The survey was advertised on the internet and radio.  The results of the 2017 survey and an overview of the comments are attached in Appendix C.  This response rate is roughly double that of a typical City of Regina survey.

 

Survey respondent demographics:

·         99% of survey respondents self-identified as a resident. 

·         0% identified as a developer only. 

·         1% identified as both a resident and a developer.

 

Survey Responses:

·         55% felt that street and park names are important or very important in shaping a city’s identity

·         55% felt that street and park names should reflect the culture and diversity of our residents. 

·         More than 50% felt that heroism or bravery, community leadership, and high career achievement are worthy criteria for a street name. 

·         81% supported the use of flora and fauna as a street or park name. 

·         48% were in favour of naming streets or parks for titles, members and properties associated with the British monarchy, in keeping with the concept of Regina as “The Queen City”. 

 

Support for theme naming, as in Harbour Landing or The Greens, was fifty-one percent in favour, forty-nine percent opposed.  This result indicates that the public is evenly split on theme naming and would be receptive to a recommendation from the Administration supporting either argument.

 

Question 6 focused on how best to use some of the approximately 400 names on the backlog list.  In the first few days that the survey was live, public inquiries as to the origin of the backlog list resulted in a tweaking of the wording of the question, including adding links to the current guidelines as well as to the master list of street and park names on the City of Regina Open Data site.  The results of this retooled question are unclear.  Respondents were asked to select on a sliding scale of 1 to 5 how much they agreed with different scenarios.  The intention behind the question was to gauge public preference for one of four options:

1.      the City should select all names for streets and parks;

2.      the City should compel developers to select street and park names from the current approved list only;

3.      the City should preserve the status quo, where developers are allowed to select names from the current approved list or to propose new names that fit the guidelines;

4.      the City should compel developers to use less than fifty percent of names for new streets and parks from the City’s current approved list. 

The question was complex and the way the question was worded was problematic from the start of the survey, leading to near-identical results for each part of the question.  The response range was 48-59% for these sub-questions.

 

A blank field allowing survey respondents to suggest new criteria for street and park naming yielded 345 responses.  Data analysis broke these comments down further to identify patterns of response that may yield useful suggestions for expanding the criteria.  Because this was the only free text field in the survey, some respondents used this field as an opportunity to leave comments rather than provide a suggestion.  After analysis, some patterns did emerge from responses provided in this field.  One area of note was that a number of respondents supported Indigenous names, culture, languages or referenced the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  Similarly, many respondents wanted an evaluation or re-evaluation of the historical legacy of street and park name nominees to ensure that racist or corrupt behavior disqualified nominees from receiving the honour of a street or park name.  Respondents suggested three possible alternate solutions for the issue of racism: naming streets or parks only for deceased individuals, numbering or lettering streets or parks, or naming streets and parks for anything but a person.  Some respondents used this field to endorse one or more criteria in particular, or, conversely, to object to one or more criteria.  Nearly every criteria that was singled out for support received another comment objecting to that criteria in specific (for example, religious leaders, where six comments objected to religious leaders receiving recognition while two comments supported nominating more religious figures). 

 

With street renaming, there was over fifty percent support for changing a name if the name is incorrectly spelled, causes wayfinding or health and safety issues, or if the namesake is found to be unfitting of honour.  These circumstances were identified by the Administration as being the most likely circumstances under which a street or park name change would take place, given the public impact of a street or park name change. 

 

Responses to the survey advertising on Facebook provoked lively discussion on street and park naming.  Many commenters discussed the idea of renaming streets and parks based on a re-evaluation of the historical legacy of individuals, which was likely influenced both by local attention to this subject in recent months and international news coverage of similar issues.  Another area of discussion in the Facebook comments was naming duplication or soundalike names, especially with “prefix” repetition, as in Wascana View, Greens on Gardiner or Maple Ridge areas of Regina. 

 

Public Engagement Sessions

 

On September 11 and 14, 2017, internal public engagement sessions were held for City of Regina employees at Building A and City Hall.  Sessions were very well-attended with full rooms and around 25 people in attendance at each session.  At both sessions, City of Regina employees expressed concerns over duplicate or soundalike names, a lack of clear direction with regard to roles and responsibilities regarding naming, and a desire to make street and park names more inclusive, especially with regard to the Indigenous community.  Attendees at internal sessions were supportive of the idea of using Indigenous signage on streets and parks, but were concerned about pronunciation, character height and technological challenges with regard to use of syllabics on street signs.  Attendees also provided constructive advice on how to address these issues, such as creating pronunciation guides, consulting other municipalities about their software products, and holding in-person pronunciation sessions for emergency services personnel.  Attendees from Roadways & Transportation requested that consideration be given to expanding the Civic Naming Committee to include a member from Roadways & Transportation.  This additional member would provide subject matter expertise on technical requirements concerning signage, road planning and construction as it relates to street and park naming. 

 

Three sessions with identified stakeholder groups were scheduled, one each for developers and regional partners, community groups and associations, and Indigenous groups. 

 

All three sessions were sparsely attended, with only 9 participants at each.  At each session, representatives from the Regina Police Service, Emergency Medical Services, and Fire and Protective Services were in attendance to address health and safety concerns.  This low response means that the opinions shared should not be considered representative of all stakeholders.

 

At the community association stakeholder session, stakeholders flagged the issues of duplicate and soundalike naming, a need to make naming more diverse, especially with regard to the Indigenous community, and hurtful or negative connotations to existing names causing hurt feelings within the community.  With regard to the backlog of existing names, there was a preference for prioritizing names in order to promote diversity.  Community association stakeholders also favoured stronger community ties to names being used within a specific area and less generic names (for example, naming a park for an individual who lived in the neighbourhood where the park is located rather than a plant or animal).

 

At the developers and regional partners stakeholder meeting, stakeholders were comprised of a mix representing regional partners such as Sakimay First Nations and the Regina Airport Authority, as well as members from the development community, including the Regina and Region Home Builders’ Association. Feedback at this session differed depending on whether the participant was a regional partner or a developer.  Regional partners stressed a need to collaborate with the City of Regina on naming, making information available on the origin of approved names, and adding names from regional partners onto the existing Master Lists of Street and Park Names to create a regional approach to naming and limit duplication.  Developers appreciated the criteria for the current guidelines, but wished to see more freedom for developers to use theme naming within a community.  There was no appetite within the developer representatives for developers being forced to use some or all names in order to reduce the existing backlog of names.  Instead, a suggestion was made to honour some of the names through some means other than a street or park name.

 

At the Indigenous groups stakeholders session, stakeholders were very interested in translation of street and park signs into Indigenous language groups.  Stakeholders recommended consultation with elders as part of the naming process.  This stakeholder group also felt that use of last names only may dilute the significance of receiving a street or park name, since shortening a name can take away its meaning.  However, there was a general acknowledgement that technical limitations as to the number of characters that fit on a street sign may pose an issue.  Stakeholders in this session agreed with community groups and associations that the existing list could be prioritized to make it easier for a developer to select a name based on name meaning.  The Indigenous stakeholders also expressed frustration at developers having control over name selection.  Pronunciation was flagged as a potential concern, and suggestions to address this included adding a feature to the City app and holding training sessions with first responders as part of the reconciliation process.

 

A public open house was also held.  The turnout was very low, and responses should not be considered as representative.  Several themes occurred during this discussion.  The participants were interested in using street and park naming as part of the reconciliation process with Indigenous residents, including renaming.  Duplication of names and soundalike names were again flagged as an area of concern, as was pronunciation of names.  The participants were interested in a ranking system that would prioritize more diverse names from the existing Master Lists of Street & Park Names.  Participants felt that developers had too much influence over street and park naming, and stressed that more names from the backlog should be used in new construction.

 

Recommended Guideline Requirements

 

It is recommended that the City of Regina Civic Naming Committee Guideline be amended to:

 

i.        Prohibit duplicate and soundalike naming of parks and streets for health and safety and wayfinding purposes;

ii.      Utilize street and park naming as an opportunity to address diversity and reconciliation via a 25% quota for Indigenous street naming and a 50% quota for Indigenous park naming

iii.   Compel use of the backlog of names on the Master Lists for Street and Park Naming by establishing a 25% quota for using names from the backlog list;

iv.    Establish circumstances under which renaming of a street or park would be permitted, and;

v.      Allow for coordination of naming with regional partners to improve health and safety and wayfinding.

 

Each of these subject areas is explained in further detail below.

 

i.        Prohibit duplicate and soundalike naming of parks and streets for health and safety and wayfinding purposes

 

In the survey, online comments and the engagement sessions, duplicate and soundalike names for streets and parks was repeatedly flagged as an area of concern for participants.  The first responder attendance at all stakeholder sessions was a clear indication of the importance of this issue to Fire & Protective Services, the Regina Police Service, and Emergency Medical Services. While health and safety has always been a significant component in deliberations about names, the guidelines have not enshrined the high priority that health and safety must take in street and park naming.

 

ii.      Utilize street and park naming as an opportunity to address diversity and reconciliation

 

In the survey, online comments and engagement sessions, a lack of diversity, especially regarding Indigenous street and park names, was repeatedly noted.  Prioritizing the backlog list to promote diversity, seeking out the advice of elders, and targeting certain groups to add more diverse names to the Master Lists of Street and Park Names were all identified as possible strategies.  Translation of street and park names into Indigenous signage in a Treaty 4 language was also suggested.  At the same time, a concern for proper pronunciation of names and harnessing technologies that can handle Indigenous languages were flagged as potential areas of concern.

 

Regina’s Indigenous population is among the country’s highest, with an estimated 8.3% of the city’s population identifying as Indigenous.  The Indigenous population of Saskatchewan is expected to climb from 1.7 million in 2016 to 2.5 million by 2036.  To adjust for growth in demographics, as well as to address the historical inequities in street and park naming, the Administration recommends that, going forward, all arterial and collector roads have an Indigenous naming connection, while 25% of local roads within a concept plan would also be required to have an Indigenous naming connection.

 

iii.   Compel use of the backlog of names on the Master Lists for Street and Park Naming

 

While the survey question addressing whether to compel developers to utilize names from the backlog list was not clear, likely due to confusion over the question’s wording, online comments, the “Other” field from within the survey itself, and engagement sessions indicated a general feeling that developers have been given too much power to add names to the list under the current guidelines.  At the developers and regional partners stakeholder session, developers acknowledged that a ranking of names from the Master List of Street and Park Names would assist in selecting names that fit a theme.  There was also an acknowledgement that removing the name of an individual from the backlog list would be problematic.

 

iv.    Establish circumstances under which renaming of a street or park would be permitted

 

In the survey, online comments, and at all engagement sessions there was a recognition that renaming streets was a complex issue that is sometimes unavoidable.  While health and safety, wayfinding or spelling corrections were identified as grounds for renaming, re-evaluating the legacy of a historical figure also received considerable support.  Street and park renaming done for health and safety, wayfinding or spelling corrections are considered housekeeping matters, and it is recommended that these types of renaming be handled by the Administration.  Street and park renaming due to the re-evaluation of the legacy of a historical figure is a more complex matter, and it is recommended that renaming for that purpose go to City Council for adjudication.  Further study and analysis is needed to establish guidelines for writing an Administrative report on renaming due to the re-evaluation of the legacy of a historical figure.  It is recommended that the Administration prepare a report on re-evaluating the legacy of historical figures by December 31, 2018, and that requests for renaming a street or park under this criteria be tabled until such a report can be prepared for City Council.

 

v.       Allow for coordination of naming with regional partners to improve health and safety and wayfinding

 

One unanticipated outcome of the engagement process was a desire on the part of regional partners to work closer with the City of Regina to improve health and safety and wayfinding.  As this has not previously been addressed elsewhere, a change to the guidelines will facilitate future discussions with regional partners on this subject.

 

The proposed new Civic Naming Committee Guideline is attached as Appendix A.  Proposed new Terms of Reference are attached as Appendix B.

 

RECOMMENDATION IMPLICATIONS

 

Financial Implications

 

Public education for the new Civic Naming Committee Guideline are summarized in the Communications section below.  The cost can be absorbed into the 2018 budget.

 

Environmental Implications

 

The recommendations provided in this report address navigation and wayfinding in outdoor environments.  Public health and safety are directly affected by street and park naming due to the impact on response times for first responders (Regina Police Service, Fire & Protective Services, and Emergency Medical Services).

 

Policy and/or Strategic Implications

 

The recommendations in this report support Design Regina – Official Community Plan and the supplemental Regina Cultural Plan.  The Regina Cultural Plan Objective “Commemorate and Celebrate Regina’s Cultural Heritage” identified the Action “Ensure that the naming of streets, parks and other civic assets is done to celebrate Regina’s unique history and cultural diversity, and that it tells the whole story of Regina.”  This Action was identified as a Mid Term Action (4-7 years).

 

Other Implications

 

The City of Regina has regional partners with autonomous street and park naming powers, including but not limited to Provincial Capital Commission, Regina Airport Authority, University of Regina (as part of Provincial Capital Commission), Sakimay First Nations, Global Transportation Hub and Rural Municipality of Sherwood.  Many of these partners have expressed a desire to harmonize street and park naming with the City of Regina to aid in health, safety and wayfinding.  The Administration has spoken to representatives from these regional partners in the past and will continue to do so on an ongoing basis as needed to harmonize naming within the City of Regina and region.

 

Accessibility Implications

 

None with respect to this report.

 

COMMUNICATIONS

 

Communications Strategy

 

Changes to the Civic Naming Committee Guideline will be communicated to the public through the following mediums:

 

·         Earned media (news release)

·         City of Regina social media (Facebook/Twitter posts to communicate changes, and posts that will spotlight select individuals on the street naming list and link to Regina.ca content)

·         Regina.ca (the primary source of information for Regina residents)

·         Email (interested parties)

 

DELEGATED AUTHORITY

 

The Civic Naming Committee approves names to be added to a master list as possible park, street or subdivision names for the City of Regina based on the approved Council Policy.

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

Respectfully submitted,

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Report prepared by:

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