Kitchener Council to Consider Indian Road Name Change After Community Concerns

Calls to rename a street in Kitchener will be presented to city council on Monday.

In May 2020, students in a grade 10 Canadian history class at Grand River Collegiate wrote an open letter to the town asking it to change the name to Indian Road, where the school is located. Students called the current name offensive and insensitive to Indigenous peoples.

Advisors will hear a presentation at the Finance and Corporate Services meeting. He is asking the council to agree to a four-step review that would see the road renamed by 2023.

Barry Cronkite, the city’s director of transportation services, said 36 apartment houses, an apartment building and the high school itself would be affected by the change.

“It’s really about engagement and making sure those directly impacted by the Indian Road name will be a vital part of the review,” said Cronkite.

“So making sure we connect with the residents, students and staff of Grand River Collegiate and Indigenous communities. “

Cost and criteria

Cronkite says the current policy of naming streets in the city “requires it to have a local historical context and that it is something that can stand the test of time.”

The cost of the name change will be between $ 65,000 and $ 90,000.

This cost covers the price of the new street signs as well as the costs that residents will have to pay for changes of identification and address.

This is much less than the cost of renaming Dundas Street in Toronto, which is expected to affect 97,000 residents and 4,500 businesses.

The City of Kitchener described the various stages of the Indian Road renaming process in Kitchener. Staff will recommend that Council agree to the process at Monday’s meeting. (City of Kitchener)

School involvement

Monday afternoon’s meeting will include delegations from students from Grand River Collegiate and history teacher Stephen Gingrich, whose grade 10 class began the process after a class discussion.

“It has already been positive in many ways. Students are interested in history in school, young people are active citizens participating in the political process, municipal government responds to students’ concerns about equity and inclusion, ”said Gingrich.

“Truly, most importantly, these conversations are sensitizing our community to the need for meaningful reconciliation in small increments like this and, hopefully, bigger steps that need to be taken.”

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