Saturday, December 31, 2011

Chinese street name suggestions to be sought

George St, Princes St and Moray Pl, in Dunedin, could be joined by Sew Hoy Lane or Guangdong Rise.

The Dunedin City Council is to seek suggestions from the city's Chinese community on names for the city's new roads.

The move came after councillors this week voted to adopt the council's new road naming policy, which spelt out rules for new names and the aim of better reflecting the area's identity.

The draft policy was first released for consultation earlier this year, prompting three submissions from members of the public.

One, from Chinese historian and retired general practitioner Dr James Ng, of Dunedin, argued the Chinese contribution to Dunedin and Otago should be recognised in road and place names.

The Chinese had played a significant role in the region's history, from the goldfields of Central Otago to commerce and employment in Dunedin.

That included Sew Hoy and Sons, which employed "300 or more" workers in their clothing manufacturing business for more than 30 years, and the more recent arrival of the Chinese Garden, built for the city by workers from China, he said.

The city even boasted a Chinese former mayor in Peter Chin, he said.

Despite that, the city had yet to recognise its Chinese heritage in a place or street name, and that needed to change, he said.

He suggested Sew Hoy or Guangdong as examples of road or place names that could be used.

The suggestion won support from Cr Richard Thomson at this week's infrastructure services committee meeting. He asked for the suggestion to be given weight in the council's new road naming policy.

Cr Kate Wilson - one of the councillors appointed to review submissions - said the idea had been considered, but cautioned pronunciation and spelling might create problems for emergency services.

Despite that, councillors voted to create a register of approved road names available for use when new roads were created, and to ask the Chinese community for possible road names to be considered for inclusion.

A process for approving names for the register would also be prepared for a later infrastructure services committee meeting.

The new policy also confirmed existing names would only be changed if there was a "clear benefit" for the community, and council staff confirmed at Tuesday's meeting there were no plans for a clean-up of existing names.

The policy prohibited new road names that were the same or similar to existing names, and said names should reference the area in which they were located.

The policy also allowed the use of macrons when spelling new Maori road names, and allowed changes when the use of macrons was of "demonstrable importance" to mana whenua.

When a road name using macrons was approved, the spelling of it without macrons would be "discouraged, but permitted", the policy said.

Councillors would continue to have the final say on recommended road names.

No comments: