There's a move afoot to rename Winnipeg's oldest vehicular bridge in honour of one of the city's longest-serving politicians.
Mynarski Coun. Ross Eadie hopes to convince his colleagues to rename the 106-year-old Redwood Bridge after his predecessor, Harry Lazarenko, who sat on council for 30 years.
Lazarenko served one term from 1974 to 1977 and then returned for a second stint that ran from 1983 to 2010. He suffered a brain aneurysm during the spring of 2010.
While Eadie is not close to Lazarenko, he has spent several months trying to ensure his predecessor is honoured in a manner befitting someone who dedicated three decades of his life to public service.
In May, Eadie promoted a plan to rename Machray Park, a North End green space, after Lazarenko. This was against the wishes of city staff, who felt a flower garden in Kildonan Park would be more suitable.
The city placed the park renaming on hold following opposition from a coalition of groups that included the Scottish Heritage Council of Manitoba and the Anglican Archdiocese of Rupert's Land.
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.
Eadie tried to find another park in the Mynarski ward to rename, but came up against further opposition.
He now plans to move a motion at Wednesday's council meeting, asking his colleagues to rename the Redwood Bridge "Harry Lazarenko Bridge" to commemorate the former councillor's long years of public service as well as his passion for riverbank stabilization and efforts to protect riverside graves.
"He served for 30 years. Very few (politicians) have done that. He also played a very significant role in pushing to protect Elmwood Cemetery and restore city riverbanks," Eadie said Monday.
Eadie said he does not believe renaming the Redwood Bridge would violate the memory of any historical figures. The bridge and Redwood Avenue are named after the red roof of a general store that once stood nearby, he said.
The Redwood Bridge, erected in 1908, is the oldest motor-vehicle bridge that remains in use in Winnipeg. It was partly reconstructed in 2006.
Eadie hopes council will suspend its rules to allow a vote on the bridge renaming Wednesday. If that fails, council will debate the idea in July.
Judy Lazarenko, the former councillor's wife, said she would like time to consider the bridge renaming.
"The park would have been nice," she said, noting Machray is already honoured by a street and a school.