25 November 2012
A Park By Any Other Name...
So the Chair of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation is promoting changing the name of Guelph Park to Dude Chilling Park. No surprise here. Vision Vancouver, ever afraid of being on the wrong side of public opinion, and in their perpetual attempt to be hip, jumps on-board the band wagon once again. Remember Mayor Robertson’s support for changing Stanley Park to Xwáýxway? Remember Commissioner Jasper’s attempt to name the new park at Trillium Jim Green Park?
Never mind that the Park Board has a process for park naming. Never mind that parks are generally named in perpetuity and that they are purposely chosen, not for fad or nonsense or rewarding political allies, but rather to reflect the geographic area or the historic contribution of an individual.
Dude Chilling Park may sound amusing to us now, but will it still be in 5 or 10 years, or will it simply be an anachronistic embarrassment? Is this really what the community calls it? Is it just a handful of people, or even simply one person’s joke?
Is it even necessary to change the name? Pioneer Place at Carrall and Hastings has been known as Pigeon Park for years. No one has come forward to initiate a name change. In the same way if Dude Chilling Park is what the community refers to it as, the name will stick.
If the community really would like the name changed then by all means ask the Park Board to initiate the process. The process takes time, but it reflects community will. Have the community consulted in a meaningful way. An amusing sign, however beautifully made, is not meaningful consultation. Nor is an on-line petition. Democracy sometimes takes a little longer, but it’s worth it.