Name proposal doesn’t pass
‘‘The statue and the plaza and the street would be extra value.’’
What’s in a name? Almost an hour and a half of discussion, in the case of a stretch of Hamilton street.
A name change was proposed for the section of Ward Street closest to Victoria Street: Dame Hilda Ross Way.
That’s because heritage trust TOTI is planning a statue of the political pioneer and social activist outside Starbucks Coffee, and wanted the nearby street to bear her name as well.
But the length of the name and its use of ‘‘Way’’ fell foul of a Hamilton City Council policy, prompting lengthy deliberations among councillors - and an eventual decision to say no.
Council staff didn’t recommended the change, but said there could be a Dame Hilda Ross Plaza around the statue.
Ross was Hamilton’s first female councillor, became a government minister, and also made her mark in community leadership and social activism
The memorial project had been five years in the making, TOTI member and former Hamilton mayor Margaret Evans told councillors.
‘‘The [Ross] statue and the plaza, that would be nice. The statue and the plaza and the street would be extra value,’’ she said.
Centre Place split the street in two in 2013, she said, so ‘‘you would never name this [section] Ward Street today’’.
But the name was over the 12-character limit in a council policy, a report from acting unit manager for planning guidance Fraser McNutt said.
Also, it couldn’t be defined as a Way, the report said.
A handful of businesses in the area were in favour but others complained it was too long and would force businesses to change marketing materials.
Councillor Dave Macpherson listed lengthily-named Hamilton streets, including Mangaharakeke Drive and Sapper Moore-Jones Place, and grilled McNutt about how the policy had been applied in each case.
Eventually, councillors took a break to firm up the options and returned with two : rename the street Hilda Ross Place and name a plaza, or give Ross’ name to just the plaza area.
Councillors voted 5-4 against a proposal to change the name to Dame Hilda Ross Way, then 7-2 for a proposal to name just the plaza after Ross. Those against were Crs Dave Macpherson and Garry Mallett. Mayor Andrew King and Crs Siggi Henry and Angela O’Leary were on leave.