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Town discusses new naming policy for town’s assets

Policy will return to council in September
The Town of Westlock has introduced a new naming policy that will act as a guideline for naming town assets. The policy, discussed by council at meetings in May and June, is expected to return for adoption in September. File photo

WESTLOCK — The Town of Westlock has created a policy to name the town’s assets, which will return to council in September, following discussions at meetings in May and June.   

Councillors first heard about the newly drafted naming policy and reviewed it at the May 21 committee of the whole meeting. It returned to them at the June 10 regular council meeting, after administration made several small changes as requested by councillors, who ultimately accepted the report as information.  

Town of Westlock CAO Simone Wiley noted at the May 21 meeting, that the policy will act as a guideline for naming town assets and pointed out they do not have a formal process for doing so.

“Currently the town does not have a policy surrounding naming of municipal assets at all, and in doing some projects over the last number of years, it was apparent that we didn’t have any sort of guidelines as to what and how municipal assets and facilities are being named,” said Wiley, adding administration researched what other communities were doing and learned of several other similar policies in Alberta, which they drew from, in helping create the town’s new naming policy draft.   

“The bulk of this came from the City of St. Albert because they very recently did this in 2024 as well,” she said, noting they removed a lot of the larger items (from the St. Albert policy) and didn’t distinguish between any other kinds of assets.  

At the meeting in May, Wiley also listed areas in the policy and briefly spoke about each section, some of which include the creation of a naming committee, that will consist of administrative staff and one councillor, naming principles, naming criteria, commemorative naming, naming new municipal owned buildings, neighborhoods and parks. She also discussed the process to remove a name from an asset, the renaming process and criteria, the application process and naming applications.

“The naming committee is responsible for reviewing and approving names submitted for naming and applications for name removal and naming of municipal assets,” said Wiley.    

The policy also includes a purpose, definitions, scope, and statement, which reads, “The primary function of naming municipal assets is to recognize and commemorate Westlock’s diverse communities, both historical and growing, and their contributions; local Indigenous histories and the flora, fauna, and natural features of the community.”

At the June 10 regular council meeting, Wiley highlighted the minor changes administration made.

“At the May 21 committee of the whole meeting, council reviewed the new naming policy that administration brought forward so there was some good discussion on that and some changes as a result of that review and discussion with council,” she said, noting the changes include clarifying the principles of naming an asset and ensuring that existing names are grandfathered unless there is an application to remove a name or rename it. Removing the term roadways, a definition be included with the proposed name if it is not in English, and having administration confirm that subsection 6.4 is consistent with the town’s current sponsorship program.

Administration also added a couple of points for consideration, after reviewing the policy again noted Wiley, and pointed out some changes, that include adding options for naming removal or renaming process, changing ‘naming applications’ to ‘community organizations’ and the addition of a “minimum of five letters of support from members of the Westlock Region.”

“This is a new thing, it’s a big thing,” said Westlock Mayor Jon Kramer at the June 10 meeting. “We made quite a few changes the first time through so it might not be a bad idea to mull it over some more.”

Councillors are expected to adopt the naming policy when it returns to council in September.

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Kristine Jean

About the Author: Kristine Jean

Kristine Jean joined the Westlock News as a reporter in February 2022. She has worked as a multimedia journalist for several publications in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta, and enjoys covering community news, breaking news, sports and arts.
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