By Sean Meyer/London Community News
London councillors want to honour the city’s military past by renaming the Quebec Street Bridge. But first, they are requesting city staff find a suitable name.
During the Community and Neighbourhood Committee meeting on Tuesday (Oct. 18) members voted to take no action on a previous recommendation to rename the structure as Wolseley Bridge and instead find a name that won’t conflict with the city’s emergency services.
This past July, Ward 4 Councillor Stephen Orser picked up on a suggestion by Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews to further recognize the city’s military history by renaming the Quebec Street Bridge. The recommendation was sent back to civic administration for further study.
During Tuesday’s meeting, committee members supported the staff recommendation to not use the Wolseley name in renaming the bridge because of fears the name could confuse emergency services personnel with the similarly named Wolseley Avenue. The Wolseley Barracks have been park of London since the 1880s.
Ward 7 Councillor Matt Brown said while the Wolseley name could be a problem, the idea of strengthening London’s military traditions needs to be further explored.
“I certainly support councillor Orser in his wish to recognize the important role — in past and present — the military has played here in London,” Brown said. “So if we request the civic administration to consult with the appropriate representatives in the area to investigate an alternative name… we could go a long way to accomplishing what councillor Orser was trying to do.”
Brown also pointed out the bridge already has some features that connect to London’s military past, such as a Royal Canadian Regiment badge pushed into the concrete, as well as the emblem of 31 Brigade and an insignia for Area Support Unit London Base.
Rehabilitation work on the Quebec Street Bridge, which sees about 15,000 vehicles cross over it every day, was completed back in June. The $2 million project saw the federal and provincial governments contributing nearly $670,000 while city contributed the balance.