Notice of motion presented for Dewdney Ave. name change

 A call to change the name of Dewdney Ave. in Regina is going to come to the floor soon at Regina City Council.

A notice of motion was submitted Wednesday for a resolution that council approve Dewdney Ave. “to be renamed as soon as practicable, and direct administration to consult with relevant stakeholders and the Civic Naming Committee to propose a replacement name to City Council as soon as practicable, and in any event by Q1 of 2025.

This notice of motion was submitted jointly by Ward 3 Councillor Andrew Stevens and Ward 6 Councillor Dan LeBlanc; it was LeBlanc who read out the notice of motion at Wednesday’s meeting.

In their submission, both councillors pointed out that the street had been named after Edgar Dewdney, who was “a historical figure who is directly responsible for the development and administration of harmful policies towards Indigenous peoples, including establishing and providing oversight for residential schools.”

They noted that Dewdney‘s name had been removed from what is now Buffalo Meadows Pool on March 31, 2021, and removed from what is now Buffalo Meadows Park on April 14, 2021. They also pointed to the development of an Indigenous Framework by the city as a commitment to reconciliation, and noted a “commitment to reconciliation, and to the Framework, is inconsistent with continuing to honour Edgar Dewdney.”

In speaking to reporters prior to the Notice of Motion being presented, LeBlanc made it known he felt Dewdney’s name had no place on a street in Regina.

“Naming your street after someone is a way to honour them, a the way to uphold honoured members of the community. Edgar Dewdney does not deserve that honour. He was a very bad person with a horrific legacy in Saskatchewan, and in Regina. He was deeply involved in orchestrating residential schools. He was involved in using starvation is a tactic in negotiation of treaties. It’s wholly inappropriate for the city of Regina, which has made meaningful contributions and commitments, reconciliation, to continue having a major street named after that individual.”

Councillor Stevens saw this as simply addressing some unfinished business.. 

“It’s something that really been simmering for quite some time, certainly I think before the 2020 election,” said Stevens. “There was a pretty substantial number of residents who were mobilizing to change the name of what was the Dewdney Pool, Dewdney Park as well as the Avenue.”

Stevens said that group collected about 2900 signatures as of 2020. He said a renaming aligns with the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“I think this deserves a bit of closure. It’s been talked about, it’ll come up periodically.,.. I think Councillor LeBlanc was having some important discussions with community organizations about getting this back on the agenda, so I think we owe it to residents who are asking for this, the thousands of residents who were signing the petition asking for this discussion to take place.”

Stevens also noted that bolted into the actual motion is stakeholder engagement, and for “existing city processes to do their job to the Civic Naming Committee” and have a discussion on whether to rename the street and how that will look like.

“Is it representative of what the community is asking for? Is it the entire stretch of Dewdney? Those are things that will come out in that conversation, but ultimately, I think it’s a really sincere and meaningful commitment to reconciliation and to revisit whether or not Dewdney himself should have an entitlement to one of those important roadways in the city.”

The notice of motion having been submitted, the resolution will come back at the next council meeting in June.

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