Name pro­posal doesn’t pass

Hamilton Press - - OUT & ABOUT - LIBBY WIL­SON

‘‘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.

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