Lanarkist

Smiths Falls staff to take closer look at history before naming roads in Bellamy Farms subdivision

Parkview Homes is the developer of the Bellamy Farm subdivision in Smiths Falls. This is an image capture from video footage showing Phase 2 of the work. Phase 3 will be underway this year and naming two of the streets has come to council for approval. – Laurie Weir screengrab

Whose names have a more prominent place in the history books of Smiths Falls?

Before naming some new streets in the Bellamy Farms subdivision in Smiths Falls, town council has asked staff to further study those names and their relevance to the town.

The two suggested names were brought forward by planner Richard Grant during a regular committee of the whole meeting on June 24. Parkview Homes, the builder of the subdivision, suggested these street names for roads located between Staples Avenue and Broadview Avenue, adjacent to the Cataraqui Trail.

The names chosen by the developer are Mansfield Terrace, named after Sergeant Steven Arthur Mansfield, and Harrison Drive, named after Dorothy Harrison, 1995 Smiths Falls Citizen of the Year, the report states.

After adverting the proposed names, staff indicated that they had received comments from 911, Bell Canada, Drummond North Elmsley Township, Lanark County, Municipal Heritage Committee, and from the internal departments of Community Services, Economic Development, Finance, Fire, Police, and Public Works stating that there are no conflicts with the two street names Mansfield Terrace and Harrison Drive, and no comments from the general public.

Mayor Shawn Pankow said he agreed with Mansfield, but how did staff arrive at Harrison?

“No disrespect to Dorothy Harrison,” he said. “I don’t know her.”

He asked if Agnes Craine had ever been named.

According to information from the Perth Horticultural Society, Craine was a doctor who was born in Smiths Falls in 1861 and died in 1937. Agnes received her education at public and high schools in Smiths Falls. After teaching elementary school for a few years, she enrolled at Kingston Women’s Medical College in 1885, becoming the first woman from Smiths Falls to attend university. She graduated as an M.D. in 1888, earning first-class honours in every examination.

“As an example, (she was) a fairly well-known woman in the community due to her history,” the mayor explained.

Richard Grant, the town’s planner, presented a report to council with a recommendation to accept two names for the Bellamy Farm subdivision — Mansfield Terrace and Harrison Drive. – Laurie Weir screengrab

Pankow named others who could be recognized, like the Bates family — Joshua, who came to Smiths Falls wanting to build a railway; or Kenneth George Spooner, who died a heroic death in 1943 while in RCAF flight training. The plane crashed into Lake Erie, as he had taken over the cockpit after the pilot fell ill. Spooner’s body was not recovered for three months, until August 17. He was buried with full military honours on August 21, 1943, in Smiths Falls and posthumously received the George Cross – a medal for bravery, not in the face of danger.

“I would prefer we work with the original list of recommended street names that we have some details around,” Pankow said.

Coun. Jay Brennan said it was a subjective list, and “I think last time Parkview suggested a couple names and we changed one of them.

“Just throw a dart at it (the list) because any of them are good choices,” he said.

Coun. Peter McKenna said he was fine to let the developer choose the name this time. “I don’t see any issue if we are presenting them the option. Otherwise, I’m suggesting that we change the way we do this. Maybe we should give them a shorter list to consider, rather than 50.”

Coun. Chris McGuire said every time this has come up since he’s been on council (his second term) it’s been an issue. “We are only doing two or three streets every few years,” he said. “It’s not a narrow enough list to zone it in.”

McGuire said Crain would be his top choice, and he’d like to see the list sent to the Municipal Heritage Committee for their input and streamline the process for the future.

Pankow said they don’t need 50 names. It would be up to them to prioritize. There are enough for the next 20 to 30 years for street names.
Grant said these street names are for Phase 3 of the development, being planned out for this year.
“If we’re deferring for a couple weeks, or a couple months, I don’t think it would change things, Grant said. “So long as the rationale makes sense.”

Chief administrative officer Malcolm Morris said that if the direction is to shorten the list for the street naming, based on certain criteria, “we could do that before this decision is made. As far as the developer, we gave them the list and they did what we asked them to do.”

There is time for staff to bring this back to council before a final decision is made, Morris noted.
There are more names on the list than the town will need in the immediate future, Morris said, “and no disrespect to anyone on that list … we do need to shorten it.”

Staff will return with a recommendation to make the list more manageable list and reset the process.


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