OUT ON A LIMB: My suggestion: anything but Old Island Highway

There’s never any shortage of ideas in this town when it comes to developing the city

There’s never any shortage of ideas in this town when it comes to developing the city.

Re-naming the Old Island Highway has certainly produced a bounty (apologies to Doug McGillis) of suggestions for naming that road. One of the biggest suggestions, of course, is “DON’T CHANGE IT!”

And that’s how it’s said. In Campbell River’s inimitable debating style, the anti-name-change faction puts forward their ideas with the tone of voice that proclaims that if you don’t agree, you’re a lunatic.

Well, fit me for a straightjacket and find me a padded room, boys, because I say “CHANGE IT!!!

The Old Island Highway is not a name. It’s a description. The name of the road was Highway 19. Now it’s Highway 19a. So, we’re not bucking tradition here. The old Island Highway simply distinguishes it from the “new Island Highway.”

Do you know how many roads called Old Island Highway there are on the east coast of the Island? Neither do I. But there’s more than one.

Plus I hate descriptive names. I hate Shoppers Row. The Row Where People Shop.

Let’s call the Old Island Highway “The Road That Winds Along the Foreshore of Campbell River.” My address is 2399 The Road That Winds Along the Foreshore of Campbell River, You Know, Down There By the Water, Eh? Formerly known as the Old Island Highway.

Even the Island Highway is brainless name. The Highway On The Island. When you consider the spectacular vistas, quaint communities and lovely stretches of road along Highway 19a, there has to be some name that would reflect that. The rest of the Island doesn’t matter anyway, we’re talking about the stretch in Campbell River. It’s no longer a highway either.

Now, there is a danger in letting some bureaucrat come up with a name. The danger of that is illustrated by comparing the Campbell River signs created by the Patrick Marshall-era Rivercorp and the one that a community competition came up, which we currently use. The Rivercorp one looks like a corporate stamp. All industrial and sharp with jagged edges and straight lines. The one we currently use, created by a community competition and voted on, is much more reflective of the importance of our natural habitat to the lifestyle of the people here. Plus it’s beautiful to look at and can be worn with pride.

Now, we could end up with a barfy name. I don’t even dare to provide an example of a bad one because it might catch on.

Some people in this city are so afraid of change. I’m all for tradition, particularly ones that are meaningful. But sometimes you’ve got to let go of the past. The Old Island Highway doesn’t do anything for me. I want a new name but a good one.

The Old Island Highway suggests it’s dumpy, old and worn out. Which it is. Except for the section that’s been recently renovated.

 

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