The District of Lantzville now has in place a policy that ensures no streets there will be named ‘Kaitlyn Way.’ Councillors were unanimous in approving the policy. Kaitlyn herself has taken offence.
News Bulletin readers may recall that Coun. Ian Savage asked for a street-naming policy a year ago, suggesting that allowing developers to name roads after their children would result in street names such as “Kaitlyn Way, Brody Place … that sort of thing.” He preferred Trendsetting Street, Beach Bliss Place and Hiking Gems Avenue.
At their meeting April 27, councillors approved the new road-naming policy created by staff. The document calls for road names to be “relevant to the history, geography or indigenous flora and fauna of Lantzville” and notes that “where a person’s name is proposed, the person should be an historical figure (usually deceased) who made positive contributions to the Lantzville community, or a long-standing Lantzville resident who achieved national or international prominence or acclaim.”
An amendment put forward by Savage encourages developers to choose names from a list to be created by the Lantzville Historical Society.
“This isn’t tying the developers’ hands, it’s just an ongoing list they can pick from; it’s an ongoing list [that] makes it easier for the approving officer, and this list of names would still have to go through the vetting process,” Savage said.
Kaitlyn Way won’t be on that list, which is probably for the best, because there’s already a Kaitlyn’s Way in Nanaimo.
“I feel that the names of the children of developers to be called out as the road names to avoid can be taken as offensive by the people who cleared, paved, built, and paid for the right to name the street that they created,” said Kaitlyn Knezevich, for whom the street is named, in an e-mail to the News Bulletin.
Her father Milan Knezevich is the developer who constructed Kaitlyn’s Way and Brody’s Place decades ago. He put the services in, he said, he put the lightposts in, he put down the pavement and he paid for it all. He’s semi-retired now, but he estimates he’s built close to 400 homes in the area valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
“I think [developers] do contribute to the city – more, I’m sorry, than that politician does,” Milan said, adding that the privilege of naming a street here and there is “not too much to ask for.” When he built Kaitlyn’s Way and Brody’s Place, he asked the municipality to make up extra street signs he could give to his children. Kaitlyn and Brody have a connection to the city and pride, Milan said, and they spread the good word about Nanaimo.
“I love my dad, and I love the fact that I have a road named after me and not many people can say that,” Kaitlyn said. “Someone cared about me enough to, literally, put me on the map. And for me, that’s all I need to know.”
The City of Nanaimo doesn’t exactly have a road-naming policy, more like internal guidelines, said Claire Negrin, manager of subdivision and deputy approving officer. There aren’t many restrictions on developers naming streets after people, though the city supports historical names where there is some relationship to the property.
Lantzville’s policy includes some common-sense guidelines. For example, street names that sound similar to other street names are to be avoided, thereby reducing confusion for emergency dispatchers and first responders. I think a couple of aspects of the new policy are too restrictive, but I agree with Lantzville council – and Kaitlyn said she agrees, too – that there are positives to having a policy in place.
“With that we may have been able to avoid Twiggly Wiggly Road,” she said.