Merivale Arena Already Named, opportunity to engage grass roots

In recognition of the late Howard Darwin’s contributions to the wider community, the City of Ottawa has been asked to rename the Merivale Arena at 1765 Merivale Road, the Howard Darwin Arena. James O’Grady, organizer of the Knoxdale-Merivale Council’s Hockey Day in Ward Nine [in which we took second place ] said “I grew up playing there and still love playing on that ice surface and I  think it should be named after someone from Nepean”. The Merivale  arena is in Nepean and has been a home of the Nepean Minor Hockey Association for many years.  Do you agree with James?   Or do you agree with Bob McCaw of Fisher Hights who said that in a City as spread out and populous as Ottawa, its preferable to name municipal buildings etc georgraphically – i.e with a neighbourhood or street name. Merivale Arena is a prime example – people from any corner of the city will have a good idea of its general location the first time they hear of it.  But change the arena’s name as suggested….??   It is one thing to name a facility or park after someone at the time it is built, but to change the name after many years just leads to confusion.
Kevin MacDonald said “We never asked for the arena to be renamed, nor did I know it was on the table. I do not disagree with Bob’s thoughts[above]. That said, the city has made the decision for us and we have to debate the right approach since leaving it Merivale Arena is off the table. I am at a loss why Councillor Egli would let city staff trump his ward office? This is ward business and the community representatives and citizens should have been consulted before someone seeks to make the decision for us.” Agnes Warda said “I think the naming of ward assets that serve community should be left to the community and not for sale. They should be named after people or places with ties to the community reflecting on (in our case) Nepean history. Below is the official city policy on commemorative naming. I am surprised that CAs have so little interest in the history. Today is the sports arena, tomorrow….?
“A commemorative name honours individuals who have: demonstrated excellence, courage or exceptional service to the citizens of the City of Ottawa, Province of Ontario and/or Canada; provided extensive community service; worked to foster equality and reduce discrimination; made a significant financial contribution to a park or facility, and the contribution significantly benefits the community that the park or facility serves (i.e. the park or facility may not have otherwise been possible without the financial assistance) or who has historical significant to the community, City of Ottawa, Province of Ontario and/or Canada.
Any member of the public or City Council may submit a name to the City for consideration. As part of the process, a preliminary investigation of the commemorative name will be conducted to ensure the name has not been used in the past and that the nomination is meritorious. If the Commemorative Naming Committee approves the application, it will then be subjected to a 60 day public consultation phase to ensure there is community support for the proposal. Following the consultation process, the Commemorative Naming Committee – consisting of applicable departmental City staff, the Mayor or his/her designate and the Ward Councillor – will be reconvened to consider the comments received. If there is majority public support for the proposal – the Committee will make a recommendation to the applicable standing committee and City Council to proceed with the application
Kelly Egan in Febrauary 26 Citizen ” It needs to be said flat out: It is a bad idea….. Firstly because it isn’t good enough. Secondly, because it has no strong links to the man or his body of work. The wrong name on the wrong building.”

If you would like to obtain further information, go to Howard Darwin Arena proposal online. or to make comments about this or Jame’s, Bob’s, Kevin’s, or Agnes’proposal contact: Tyler Cox, Policy and Projects Coordinator, City Clerk and Solicitor Department, Ottawa City Hall.           ————-

Born and raised in Ottawa, Howard Darwin enjoyed a long and successful career in business and in the field of professional sports.  Over the course of his life, he was honoured with numerous awards including the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal.

Howard Darwin is perhaps best known as a sports team owner. In 1967, he brought major junior hockey to Ottawa, establishing the iconic Ottawa 67’s Hockey Club. In 1993, Darwin brought AAA baseball and the  Ottawa Lynx team to the nation’s capital, while also vocally advocating for the construction of the Ottawa baseball stadium.

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