Citizen weighs in

Critics oppose Robertson Road name change

Joanne Chianello, Ottawa Citizen
photo Pat McGrath
The City of Ottawa wants to rename Robertson Road in Bells Corners because of complaints that the small stretch is difficult to find.

A proposal to eliminate the name Robertson Road because it’s allegedly confusing for customers to find businesses met with some opposition Tuesday morning at a meeting of council’s planning committee.

Sharon Navin said her family has lived in Bells Corners since 1895 and doesn’t believe there’s any confusion that couldn’t be addressed with some large signage.

But more importantly, she said, “I have a problem swapping one family name for another.”

City staff want to rename Robertson Road – commemorating John Robertson, one of the founders of the Bells Corners district – to Lloyd Francis Boulevard, commemorating a former local MP and Speaker of the House. A small part of Richmond Road would also be renamed.

Her sentiments were echoed by former regional chair Andy Haydon, who said he’s “in full support of recognizing the contributions of Lloyd Francis,” but, “you don’t destroy the past to place a name in the future.”

One of the people in favour of the change was Lloyd Francis’s son, Paul, who said the proposed name change “is a movement to simplify and give an identity to Bells Corners.”

The proposed name change affect 130 civic addresses, including about 10 homes on a small piece of Richmond Road.

Undoubtedly, Richmond Road is somewhat confusing west of Baseline Road, where it continues west for about one kilometre, and then takes a sharp turn south where it continues on to the village of Richmond. Drivers travelling westbound along Richmond who continue straight instead of taking that sharp left find themselves on Robertson Road.

City staff believe that it would be less confusing to rename Robertson Road and that one-kilometre piece of Richmond Road after Lloyd Francis. The change would cost the city about $43,000, although residents and businesses would be responsible for any costs relating to the address change. Deliberations on the issue continue.

Former Nepeanite: Just goes to show, this committee just doesn’t get it. So happy to be moving out of this city.

Lucky Luke: We obviously have too many people on the city payroll – is there a reason for this street renaming? I mean, did a lot of people get lost and complain about this all of a sudden?

anonymous: Liberals naming things after Liberals…..same old story.

The big problem is that Richmond Road disappears at Moodie and renaming Robertson Road is unlikely to cure that.

anonymous: I say we vote Sharon Navin for Mayor. After all she is my favorite aunt!

anonymous: I agree – the name Lloyd Francis Boulevard sounds small town cheap. The council clowns need to look up ‘boulevard’ in the dictionary.

Time for a ban on naming anything after politicians and shame on Paul Francis for participating in the action.

W_McLean: Whatever the merits of renaming Robertson Road, and whatever the merits of naming something after Lloyd Francis, (A) it’s cheesy to use BOTH names; last names only, please; and (B) even cheesier to give the grandiloquent name of “Boulevard” to a street that is clearly not a boulevard.

Small town cheap.

Middle Man: Just put a sign up to make the Richmond to Robertson transition clear. Why are these bureaucrats and councillors always finding ways to spend our tax dollars on nothing?

Also, I am sick and tired of politicians naming things after each other. If you want to name something after a person, find someone who made a real contribution.

trunkster: Lloyd Francis was a Liberal and council is Liberal-heavy including Watson, that’s why it’s being changed. There’s no reason they can’t honour Francis in some other way, but it’s just like the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Airport, it’s all partisan politics, because they can. Trudeau was responsible for Mirabel which turned out to be a white elephant but they didn’t call it the PET Airport, hypocrites!

anonymous: Confusing for sure – try moving here from another city and get to an intersection and find out that each road has a different name there.

Just because some greasy politician has to name a street after someone who made a large donation. How about maintaining the status quo and leave it alone?

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7 Responses to Citizen weighs in

  1. So if they rename the whole strip that then means Richmond Road will end at Baseline and then pick up again at the current corner of Robertson/Richmond Road? Sounds like it will end up being even more confusing then it already is! If they must rename that area between Robertson and Baseline why not just extend Robertson Road the extra mile and keep the name? I’ve written Mr. Chiarelli with my opinions. Perhaps we all should to be heard? I’d much rather see the $43,000 or whatever it would cost be spent towards something for our youths in the community.

    How about decent outdoor rinks – that would only be a thousand or two, leaving $41,000 for something else the kids might like. Maybe free pizza for life, decent public transit or access to youth-friendly public space?

    Or you could even give the savings back to the taxpayers – there’s a radical idea!

    • TonyL says:

      Well said, Sheila! However, if I had 43 thousand to spend, I’d use it for improving the area for cyclists along that treacherous stretch of road, where the underpass is at the LCBO. Of course, a lot more than 43 grand would be needed to improve that area, which is just as ghastly-looking coming into Bells Corners, while at the same time being downright dangerous.

      – It doesn’t have to be expensive to make drastic improvements to that stretch – just smooth out the heaved parts of the sidewalk/shared pathway for a few thousand (they just spent a million tax dollars putting lipstick on the BC strip pig for the ‘benefit’ of motorists and business owners) – is a few thousand spent on cyclist safety unreasonable? Not to mention helping out the skateboarders, wheelchair people, and pedestrians who loathe that gateway to Bells Corners. I wonder if RC has even heard of the term “active transportation“?

      This area is definitely BC’s most dangerous spot.

      I usually take the sidewalk (or is a shared pathway?) unless there’s a pedestrian (once every blue moon).

      I put a photo of a pothole perfect for killing a dozy cyclist and posted it here.

      It’s probably a coincidence but it was filled in shortly afterwards, so it’s less dangerous now.

      Thanks, City guys! Seriously.

      All the frontline workers I’ve seen in action (the guys who put up the boards, cut the grass, drive the trucks, the blue collar guys) are doing a super job (and I’m not being sarcastic).

      Management, not so much. The higher you go, the more I have my doubts.

      Only today a bigwig sputtered at me on the phone when I dared ask when the City was going to hold new elections to replace the community association executive that RC and Dan Chenier appointed. He was pretty rude, but I don’t blame him. I can be pretty annoying, in case you haven’t noticed.

      The election was promised for January or February (after the two elections slated for November were cancelled by City decree), but I guess the “winning conditions” are not yet in place.

      Next time you people out there bellyache about taxes (I’m not pointing the finger, as I do it all the time) think about how much GOOD taxes can do when spent wisely.

  2. Sabina A says:

    I simply could not believe what I was reading in Wednesday’s paper about the name change in Bells Corners. I truly believe that we could find better ways to spend a whopping $43,000.00 in this city.

    In another article, it was written that Rick Chiarelli stated that the name change would avoid confusion. We in Bells Corners are not confused. We are proud of our community and its history.

    But isn’t that the way? Get rid of the name Robertson which honours a common hard-working fellow and replace it with the name of a former politician/developer.

    I must say, I have in the past placed a mark on the voting ballot next to Rick’s name. This crazy fiasco is making me question my loyalties.

    – Hope your memory is pretty sharp. The next municipal election won’t take place until 2014, and Rick’s Lloyd Chiarelli blunder will be long-forgotten by then.

    But hubris can’t be denied, so maybe he’ll slip up again.

    I sort of doubt it though – the cunning councillor is no doubt working on damage control as we speak.

  3. Ruth Tremblay says:

    Where do we find a link to the petition objecting to the renaming of Robertson Road?
    Citizens in Crystal Beach/Lakeview are asking…….

    – I’ll let you know as soon as I find out. I can confirm that the petition has been circulating and that a LOT of people are interested in signing it (presumably, of course, once they’ve read it carefully).

    I’m curious as to the wording – short and sweet or with a preamble? Does it call for this foolish project to be reconsidered until there’s some authentic consultation with the businesses and residents that make up the Bells Corners community. Or does it call for scrapping the idea altogether?

  4. This whole thing doesn’t make sense to me. If the whole point of renaming the road was to make things less confusing, I don’t think this is going to be accomplished! Now, Richmond Road will exist in several different chunks.

    And, what about the business owners who have to change all of their stationary and print ads?

    – It doesn’t make sense to me either, until you factor in the sleazier side of municipal politics.

    Then it makes perfect sense.

  5. TonyL says:

    The Bells Corners BIA Titanic is sinking rapidly! One thing you do not do as a BIA is to alienate the very businesses you say you your helping.

    Most of the businesses hate it and they MUST be questioning RC’s smarts.

    Have fun with that Alex Lewis!

    – I don’t know if Rick’s love boat is sinking just yet, but it’s sure taking on a lot of water!

    I wonder if Team Chiarelli’s next attempt at damage control will be better than his recent royal visit to Stillwater Creek Retirement Community (where rumour has it that he was bopped on the head with a cane by an enraged granny).

    I wish I could have been present for the fun.

    I wonder if he brought doughnuts and free Team Chiarelli pens?

  6. Ruth Tremblay says:

    The petition is at the Goodwill Store in Bells Corners.

    – It’s also popping up at other local businesses who are unafraid of the councillor’s wrath. People are also going door-to-door in various parts of Bells Corners.

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