Saturday, June 3, 2023

Reader Agrees That Meaford Needs to be Renamed

Letter to the Editor


Apropos your comments on name change for Meaford – The fact is that the present name is the cause of endless confusion . One doesn’t know if a reference to “Meaford” means the town exclusively, which is often the case, or to the whole land area of the municipality from Owen Sound to Thornbury. Indeed, many Owen Sounders still shake their heads when they are told the city butts into Meaford, and wonder if this is the result of continental drift.

At amalgamation we were meant to be “Georgian Highlands”. The mayor at the time, Gerald Shortt, found that too confusing when matched with other adjacent municipalities with similar names.  He then foisted the “Meaford”name on the taxpayers – no consultation at all. This only added to the confusion, since no one can be sure if the reference is to the town, or to the municipality. Indeed, in 2008 the Meaford Chamber cited the name confusion as an inhibition to economic progress.

Moreover, the name chosen under those peculiar circumstances speaks volumes to the supremacy of the town of Meaford in local decision making. This certainly has brought about resentment and division in the municipality, as the events of this last summer at Woodford and Bognor attest. That sense of unfairness and rancour remains.

The existing situation cannot remain frozen in stasis . Sure, it will take political courage to reconsider the idea, but citizens will buy in to change, if it has a clear rationale and the populace are invited into the decision making.

We well remember that Mississauga ‘s name was chosen directly by a ballot question. The new name here need not be Georgian Highlands. It could be any other offered by a committee of citizens. Some local people are pushing the name”Georgian Shores” and that might work.

Remember that at one time St. Vincent was called “Zero” and Markdale was call “Cornabus”. Kitchener was once “Berlin. In 1907 Owen Sound changed all its named streets and avenues to numbers. … And to cite further examples of radical change, note the change of name in the surname of the British Royal family, now” Windsor” but earlier the Germanic “Saxe Cobourg Gotha”.

To make the name change for a purpose, an economic and social purpose in this case, should not be difficult to justify. To say that costs will not allow the change is the classic bureaucratic argument against anything. Note that the County of Grey just recently changed its signage, sloga and logo to no great travail.

So keep up with your naming quest, Councillor Lynda  Stephens .We cannot but admire your bravery and panache in asking for this  review. A lot us are with you.

Ken and Judy Thomson, Leith

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