Street names in two future neighbourhoods in Okotoks’ will defy standard conventions.
Residential streets in the planned D’Arcy community will be named after native plant species of the region, such as Birch or Juniper, while streets in the future Wedderburn development will be named for tributaries to the Sheep River, such as Threepoint or Emerson.
Town council is also keeping the names of prominent Okotoks families that once owned and farmed the two properties before being bought by United Communities. The future Wedderburn community be located north of Suntree and Tower Hillm while the D’Arcy community will be located between D’Arcy Ranch Golf Club and Northridge Drive. Main collector roads in each community will use either the D’Arcy or Wedderburn names.
Okotoks Mayor Bill Robertson said using the names of plants and river tributaries adds a unique educational component to the development of the two neighbourhoods.
“Being able to teach people the history of what is around them is so much more than just a generic name on it with Way, Crescent, Drive and so forth,” said Robertson. “It’s much more interesting to live on Threepoint Street, knowing that Threepoint was the major tributary that contributed to the flood in 2008. It’s historic.”
The Town’s names advisory committee, which includes Robertson and councillors Carrie Fischer and Ken Heemeryck, recommended council adopt the standard naming convention for both neighbourhoods. Each road would have been prefixed with the area name, for example “D’Arcy Close” or “Wedderburn Cove.”
Robertson said he was the only dissenting vote at the committee level.
Coun. Tanya Thorn agreed with the mayor, adding that the public had already responded positively to the proposed names as they were revealed on presentation board maps during open houses held over the past year.
She said using the family names on major roads will highlight them better and making them seem more significant.
“When you go into Crystal Ridge, for example, everything is Crystal-something and you eventually start to tune out the Crystal part of it because you’re just looking for Green, or Cove, or whatever it happens to be,” said Thorn. “When every street is named the same you lose that significance piece.”
Since most people use a GPS to navigate unfamiliar territory, she said using a unique naming structure shouldn’t pose many issues. If anything, she said, people will have a better sense of where the roads are because of their originality.
The D’Arcy and Wedderburn areas will be similar to Tower Hill, which is named after early mayors and other prominent Okotoks families, she said.
“Interestingly enough, that’s one of our first communities,” said Thorn. “We moved away from that, and I think this will bring more meaning to the areas and significance to these families.”