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New bridge name ‘rubbish’

Council decision to name bridge after toddlers leaves some unimpressed
Langley Township's decision to name a walking bridge which connects the two sides of 200 Street at 68 Avenue after two toddlers who use the bridge has come under fire.

Langley’s newest bridge is to be named after two-year-old playmates, Cole and Harmony.

The $1.7 million pedestrian overpass takes walkers, including the toddlers, from one side of 200 Street to the other at 68 Avenue.

According to Councillor Kim Richter, all council members received a request from Cole’s father, Hugh McDonald regarding the naming of the overpass, which opened in May.

Her motion that the overpass be named the Cole Harmony Bridge “in honour” of the tots, was approved without discussion, after council watched a 69 second video of Cole on the bridge.

Not everyone was impressed. While no one in the audience reacted to the vote, several people vented in the parking lot after the meeting.

“Rubbish,” said a man who often attends council meetings.

“It’s child exploitation,” said another Township resident.

Others called council’s acceptance of the motion embarrassing.

Councillor Grant Ward was the only council member to vote against the name. He said that council failed to follow its own policy governing the naming of fixed assets such as bridges.

“That is normally reserved for citizens who have a lengthy service to the Township,” Ward said on Tuesday, noting that facilities are normally named after people who have died.

The most recent example is Lynn Fripps, a long-time Aldergrove community volunteer who died in 2005. A new park and elementary school in Willoughby will be named after Fripps.

Ward said naming the overpass after two toddlers was unusual “and I wasn’t going to be part of it.”

E-mails circulating after Monday’s council meeting point to growing concern for council’s decision.

“Anything to get one’s name and profile highlighted. What a shame, would have expected better from Councillor Richter,” wrote a resident.

“What next, a septic field named after (administrator) Mark Bakken, (Councillors) Grant Ward, Charlie Fox, Steve Ferguson, or (Fort Langley/Aldergrove MLA) Rich Coleman?” asked another.

Jacob de Raadt, a council watchdog and critic, said the decision was “atrocious.”

“I find it highly irresponsible to name a bridge based on a video that was obviously made by the parents of a cute two-year-old.

“My grandchildren are just as cute, I would counter,” de Raadt said.

He called the decision “very short-sighted, or even dumb,” and one which council may well regret.

He said that a more appropriate name would be the Langley Little League Bridge to honour the local baseball players who represented Canada in the World Little League World Series in August.