Guelph/Eramosa council sticks with road naming policy, denies developer’s request

Council rejects proposal to name street after developer's late wife

BRUCEDALE – A new Rockwood road will be named after one of the township’s war dead, not the Drexler/Dowler developer’s late wife.

Developer Kevin Drexler requested the private road in the condominium project off Dowler Street be named Jaqueline Place, in memory of his wife and the mother of his children.

Council voted to deny the request on March 6 because it contradicts the township’s policy of naming streets after veterans listed on the Rockwood cenotaph.

In a letter to council in January, Drexler wrote ”she is the reason this project exists. It was her dream to one day build here and live by the river.”

He and his late wife have always lived in Rockwood and his construction company has made an effort to help the community over the last 50 years, he noted.

Clerk Amanda Knight said developer street name requests are forwarded to the township’s heritage committee, which recommended the developer choose from the available names on the cenotaph.

“Talk about ultimate sacrifice for our country, our community,” Mayor Chris White said.

“These folks gave their lives.”

Of the 24 veterans listed on the cenotaph, 16 have streets in the township named after them. Six of the remaining eight have streets named in their honour in Fergus, Elora and Guelph.

The available names include those with streets in Guelph or Wellington County but not Guelph/Eramosa township, a “technicality” that was corrected in an update to the policy last month.

White said the letter is “very touching,” and he understands Drexler’s reasoning.

He said “quite often in life” different worthy causes “come up against each other,” but in this case he supports sticking with the municipal policy.

“Everybody has followed it so far in the last decade or two since we’ve had this” he noted.

He said there may be other naming requests in the future that can be accommodated, but “in this particular case, that’s what the policy states and if you waive the policy now, you’ve blown the policy.”

At the meeting, councillor Corey Woods, who also chairs the heritage committee, said all war dead should have a street named after them within the township, but he thinks it unlikely enough streets will be built in his lifetime to make that possible.

“The heritage committee recommended that we stick to our policy,” Woods said. “And I hope that council would back that.”

Mark Bouwmeester supported the developer’s request, despite also voicing support for the policy.

He said he agrees with Woods that “we will probably all be long gone” before there are enough new streets for all remaining names, but “every situation is going to be unique.

“I think the policy is more designed for multiple streets,” Bouwmeester said, noting when there’s more than one street in a new development, 75 per cent should be from the list and the other 25% can be chosen by developers.

With only one road in the Drexler/Dowler development Bouwmeester said “giving them no choice in the street name” doesn’t “sit well” with him.

“We are not building a road, we are not fronting the money to develop it,” he said.

“I’m sure it’s a pretty penny to build those condo homes on that street.

“Normally I support the policy, it’s just this one seems a little bit unfair to the person who is developing the road, so I’m going to vote against it.”

White, Woods, and councillor Bruce Dickieson voted in favour of the heritage committee’s recommendation, while Bouwmeester and councillor Steven Liebig were opposed.

The day after the meeting, Knight wrote the Advertiser, following a conversation between herself and the mayor, suggesting the condominium site itself could be named after Drexler’s wife.

“We will be presenting this idea to the developer,” Knight stated in an email.

*EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated from an earlier version that stated Mark Bouwmeester was the only councillor who opposed the heritage committee’s recommendation.