Why 38,000 signatures might not be enough for Kamloops to rename street for fallen Snowbird | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Why 38,000 signatures might not be enough for Kamloops to rename street for fallen Snowbird

Capt. Jenn Casey was killed in a Tutor jet crash in Kamloops on May 17, 2020.
Image Credit: TWITTER / @CFSnowbirds
May 26, 2020 - 12:00 PM

A petition calling on the City of Kamloops to rename Airport Road following the crash of a Snowbird jet has reached 38,000 signatures, but the City has yet to commit to the action. 

Capt. Jenn Casey was killed in the May 17 crash and a petition calling on the City to rename Airport Road to Capt. J. Casey Memorial Way was started almost immediately.

Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian says the City plans memorialize the tragic event but perhaps not in the way the petition suggests.

“We will make an appropriate memorial for Capt. Casey and the Snowbirds in conjunction with her family and the (Royal Canadian Air Force) at a later date,” Christian said in an email.

The spontaneous and temporary memorial near the Kamloops airport will be taken down at the end of the week.

Kamloops city councillor Denis Walsh agreed with Christian that they should wait to allow time for grieving before moving ahead with a memorial and expects other parties will want to have a say in the type of memorial erected.

“I think, to me, the best thing is to have a conversation between the Rocky Mountain Rangers or the Legion or something to try and find something that works for both parties, and it may end up being that drive,” Walsh said.

Walsh says the process of changing a street name could be lengthy and notes there are logistical issues, such as changing maps.

“Even if we agreed on it... I’m sure it's a complicated process," Walsh said.

The process of the potential name change would be a unique undertaking because it’s coming from an online petition, the City's development, engineering and sustainability director Marvin Kwiatkowski said.

The first step would be bring the petition before city council.

“We would basically have council authorize that we send it out to all the affected property owners in regards to the name changes... We would then send it out, we’d probably wait a few weeks and see what kind of comments come back, and then we’d bring it back to council,” Kwiatkowski said.

The feedback would be considered and council would then make a decision.

He hasn’t seen a street name change in his nearly eight years with the City, but he suspects the City would pay for the signage, while the responsibility and potential costs of changing addresses would fall on the property owners.

“It’s not a situation where the people petitioning the residents of the street where the address is going to change, so the key is to make sure the people who are going to be impacted are notified,” he said.

This article was updated at 1:29 p.m. Tuesday, May 26, 2020 to add information comment Marvin Kwiatkowski.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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