20 August 2009

What's in a name?

The Park Board has received some complaints over a sign at the park being redeveloped at the corner of Hastings and Carrall. The official name is Pioneer Place but it has been known locally for many years as Pigeon Park. The Park Board erected a sign with the official name on it and one blogger accused the Park Board of 're-branding' the Downtown Eastside. When I pointed out that the official name was Pioneer Place and if people wanted it changed all they had to do was ask, I was called defensive.

For years the Park Board had no protocol for naming parks. I am very proud to have been the one who presented a protocol for park naming in 2007--a protocol the Park Board by and large accepted and now uses. It calls for a naming committee made up of community members to ask for submissions and then recommends a name to the Board for ratification. This was the protocol used for the naming of Ebisu park in Marpole.

It is easy to make accusations of elected officials and bureaucrats, but in this case the Park Board has simply followed practice. Its hard to accuse the Park Board of 're-branding' when the name is officially 'Pioneer Place'. This is even harder to swallow when the Board has assured residents that signs in the redeveloped space will say Pigeon Park.

My advise to those who don't like the name 'Pioneer Place' is to make a request to the Park Board to have it officially re-named Pigeon Park. If the community supports a name change, I will be more than happy to sponsor a motion to that effect.

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