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Vote on proposal to rename park postponed

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Some heritage groups oppose changing the name of Machray Park, near the corner of Church Avenue and Powers Street, after former city coun. Harry Lazarenko.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES Enlarge Image

Some heritage groups oppose changing the name of Machray Park, near the corner of Church Avenue and Powers Street, after former city coun. Harry Lazarenko. Photo Store

A proposal to rename a North End park after a former city councillor was put on hold after the move was opposed by heritage groups.

A civic committee decided this morning to give everyone involved a month’s time to consider different options.

"That’s all we wanted… more time to discuss it further," said John Perrin, a spokesman for a coalition of groups including the Scottish Heritage Council of Manitoba and the Anglican Archdiocese of Rupert’s Land.

The proposal called for renaming Machray Park after Harry Lazarenko, a city councillor for 30 years who was forced to retire in 2010 because of illness.

It’s believed the park was named after Robert Machray, the first archbishop of the Anglican diocese of Rupert’s Land.

Machray died in 1904 and the park was created in 1909.

Coun. Ross Eadie, who succeeded Lazarenko as the ward councillor and is promoting the name change, said a street and school in the North End are named after Machray and he didn’t see how changing the name of the park would alter the city’s recognition of Machray.

Perrin read a letter from the archdiocese which said Machray should be remembered for the impact he had on the new province of Manitoba and Winnipeg.

"Machray had an extraordinary life," Perrin said, adding he brought the parish school model to the Red River settlement, re-organized St. John’s College in 1866 and was later appointed the first chancellor of the University of Manitoba, and is credited in 1868 with advocating peaceful relations between the Métis and English settlers.

"He was a pivotal figure in Red River and Winnipeg at the time. To change the name of the park at this time would be to discredit the history of our community," Perrin said.

An administrative report opposed the park name change and suggested Lazarenko be honoured in other ways, possibly renaming another park or dedicating a flower garden in Kildonan Park after the former councillor.

At Eadie’s request, the committee postponed a decision on the matter until its June meeting.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

 

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