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Even after name change, concerns persist on former Swastika Trail

In October, Puslinch council made the final decision to change Swastika Trail to Holly Trail
File Photo.

PUSLINCH — Some residents of the former Swastika Trail still have concerns surrounding the name change to Holly Trail.

The physical street signs are to be changed on or sometime around Nov. 30.

Residents of Holly Trail were also given the opportunity to opt into receiving compensation for expenses incurred through the name change, $200 for households, $500 for businesses and $1,000 for the owner of the street. It is a privately owned street.

Lori Leroux, a Holly Trail resident, is frustrated with the length of time it is taking the township to provide compensation for residents.

“We haven’t received one penny of the financial aid that has also been promised,” Leroux said.

Holly Trail residents were already switching postal codes from Cambridge to Puslinch. Between that and the name change, Leroux worries they’ll have to change their address twice.

“We were told we would receive the new postal code at the same time so we didn’t have to make changes twice! We currently have a Cambridge postal code and we are all being switched to reflect Puslinch,” Leroux said.

Residents were promised they’d get both the street name change and postal code change at the same time.

“The postal code was changing regardless of this street name change. We were told they would get us ours at the same time,” Leroux said.

Leroux worries she’ll have to purchase products relevant to the address change twice.

“I’m not paying to change documents and business articles to have to turn around and do it again. I need to order cheques, letter head, etc,” Leroux said.

Leroux also raises the concern of emergency services having trouble locating residents on Holly Trail should there be an emergency.

“How on earth would an ambulance from another city or even Cambridge find us when this road doesn’t even exist. Just last weekend we had a person found deceased in their home. This can turn out to be very tragic with the blame falling totally on this current council,” Leroux said.

The availability of the township is another concern.

“We, along with other concerned home owners, have emailed the township regarding this. No one has gotten a response,” Leroux said.

Another Holly Trail resident, Brian Rhiel, feels the process of changing the street name and putting the new sign up is rushed. 

“We were told by letter that it’s going to be the end of the month. So that seems a little premature to us given that nothing else seems to have changed and it's not been coordinated,” Rhiel said.

Rhiel worries about emergency services and people making deliveries not being able to find residences on Holly Trail.

“Anybody that’s trying to make a delivery or find us, either emergency vehicles, or even as simple as my wife just had her weekly medicine dropped off just a few minutes ago. As long as we have the same driver, they would know to ignore the signs, just keep delivering. But also we have a business in Cambridge and we get a lot of, because of the hours at the store, we get deliveries made at our home that we take to our business in Cambridge and again delivery services wouldn’t be able to find us,” Rhiel said.

Puslinch municipal clerk, Courtenay Hoytfox explained how emergency services are notified of the street name change.

“So part of the formal process for changing a street name is to notify our upper tier, which is the County of Wellington,” Hoytfox said. “The County of Wellington’s responsibility is notifying agencies such as Bell, who oversees the mapping data system for emergency services in Guelph. And we use Guelph dispatch for those purposes.

“So they were notified of the passing of the bylaw. So their system is going to coincide with the street signage change on Nov. 30. 

“So that very much is one of the most important aspects of the name change to ensure that emergency services know how to locate properties and that’s the purpose of the physical address.

“So that’s all been changed and will be effective Nov. 30.

“So that’s part of the information that residents already received and we will be sending it out once more this week to make sure that they understand that as of that date, if emergency services are requested, they should be using their physical address, which is Holly Trail.”

Randy Guzar has pushed for the name change for some time. For him, the process of changing the name is rather simple.

“Really there has been no obstacles that we’ve faced at this point in time,” Guzar said. “We’re quite aware of you know a number of people that have seemed to end up wanting to defend the name swastika. And we just think that it’s unacceptable in a modern Canada.”

Guzar is paying 50 per cent of the compensation Holly Trail residents will receive to help with changing the name.

“Total cost was approximately $3800. So township is sharing that cost with myself, the requester," Guzar said. "They call the party that requests the name change the requester.

“And that fee must be submitted early on in the process. And it was. And when township comes to a total number, they just split that number. And the requester is required to submit 50 per cent of that cost to the township for redistribution to residents in the community.”

From Guzar’s perspective, changing the street name is neither problematic or unusual.

“Let’s look at a normal scenario that people can relate to,” Guzar said. “That if they decide to sell their current home and relocate and they have to go through a process of you know changing their address. And that’s quite normal, that’s quite natural, it happens all the time, 1,000s of times a month in the province alone.

“So it’s quite a normal procedure. This is no different, other than residents are of course not moving.

“And we just have to make the normal sort of address changes that one would normally make if one were moving their home.”

Time will tell if there are any issues with emergency services being confused by the name change and struggling to find a resident and get to an emergency.

Jesse Gault is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.