‘Craig’s Crossing’ name approved for Cambridge pedestrian bridge

By  | January 9, 2019 | 2 Comments | Filed under: Politics
Council is moving forward with naming the pedestrian bridge over the Grand in Galt for former Mayor Doug Craig. – Ray Martin/ Metroland

Like it or not, Cambridge’s “Bridge to Nowhere” was renamed Tuesday night by Cambridge council.

At the city’s general committee meeting, council voted 6-2 in favour of naming the pedestrian bridge in downtown Galt “Craig’s Crossing,” in honour of former mayor Doug Craig’s more than 30 years of service to the community.

Coun. Frank Monteiro, who put forward the motion, said the naming was “the right thing to do.”

However, some members of council, while not objecting to the name, wanted to see the matter deferred so that a process for naming municipal buildings, parks, streets, etc. could be established.

Councillors Mike Devine and Mike Mann called for the deferral until a proper process could be established so that any name could be put forward by staff, council or the public.

City resident Rande Keffer opposed the bridge being named in Craig’s honour.

“If it is necessary to name this bridge, the community needs to be engaged,“ she said, suggesting a town-hall meeting take place to engage the public.

“After all, the City of Cambridge belongs to the people. At this time, I feel it is not necessary to name the pedestrian bridge after any individual and to be quick to decide this is simply irrelevant.”

Keffer said the naming of the bridge is not a priority and council’s time would be better spent dealing with the homelessness issue, the opioid crisis, safe-injection site locations and affordable housing.

Cambridge resident Jill Summerhayes voiced an opposing opinion. She said naming the bridge Craig’s Crossing was “fitting.”

“This is not about whether you always agreed with his decisions over his long political career, but whether he should be recognized for his more than 30 years of service.”

Summerhayes recounted some of Craig’s achievements, pointing to the creation of the school of architecture, new city hall, renovation of the old city hall, Hamilton Family Theatre and the old Galt post office project, as well as the pedestrian bridge.

“Naming the pedestrian bridge after mayor Doug Craig does not preclude other past mayors and our heritage being recognized in equally appropriate ways,” she said.

Summerhayes concluded her presentation by saying that, since the opening of the bridge, thousands of people have been drawn back to the river and urged council not to be dissuaded by negative public comments.

Monteiro told council that more than 200,000 people have crossed the pedestrian bridge since its opening last May, which was an average of 32,000 people a month.

“For a bridge with so much controversy and so much criticism, it certainly has been a hit. Everybody loves the bridge. To name the bridge ‘Craig’s Crossing’ is the right thing to do,” he said.

With Coun. Jan Liggett absent, the deferral motion was lost in a 4-4 split vote. However, following the vote, city staff called for a break when it was discovered that Cambridge already has a policy in place for naming municipal property.

Following the meeting, Mayor Kathryn McGarry told reporters she had asked staff for the information regarding a naming policy and was told there wasn’t one. As it turned out, the policy was approved by council in 1989, but it had yet to be updated into an electronic format and was missed in the staff search.

After the break, councillors Pam Wolf and Donna Reid enthusiastically supported the Craig nomination, urging council to move forward with the naming now and to use the naming policy when looking at naming other facilities.

McGarry said the naming of the bridge put her “in a delicate position” because her face had been edited out of a bridge-opening photo used in Craig’s recent re-election campaign, which was brought up by Keffer. McGarry had no problem with the name, saying ‘Craig’s Crossing’ would not only honour Craig’s sacrifice for the community, but also that of his family.

Even so, McGarry did oppose the motion, stating that she had run for council on a platform of transparency and she felt the public should have more say in the process.

Although council has decided to move forward with naming the bridge and placing a plaque on it describing the name’s significance, in accordance with the city’s naming policy, McGarry has asked staff to review the policy and prepare an update for council’s consideration.

Council will consider confirmation of its decision at its next council meeting, on Jan. 22.

by Ray Martin

Email: rmartin@cambridgetimes.ca




2 Responses to ‘Craig’s Crossing’ name approved for Cambridge pedestrian bridge

  1. mjqsmith@bell.net'
    Maggie Smith January 10, 2019 at 10:25 am

    Too bad – but is done & who will really care – it will always be known as “The Bridge to Nowhere”. Of course people will use it. At 2 million for something unneeded – suitable for Craig’s name on it. We the people got rid of him big time, but guess his Council followers can’t let go & get on with Cambridge business. It was hard to listen to the plea from Gaskin & Hospital Board for money needed for equipment – to think this wasted 2 Million could have bought a piece of machinery that just might save your life. They talk about the view from the Bridge to Nowhere – yes you see another Bridge to the North & to the South – wow!! I just hope that our new Mayor can talk some common sense into some of the brain-dead Councillors that just can’t seem to think any more. Why some of them got voted back in is beyond me – voters going by familiar names – not by the baggage some have. Oh well, this is done & over – on with the next. Although the name could be illegal, as can’t name something after a person still in politics or still alive, – which ex-Mayor has put his name in for PC nomination – so sounds illegal for his name on the Bridge. What do you think??

  2. lvann_11@sympatico.ca'
    Tom Vann January 14, 2019 at 9:58 am

    Yes Maggie, the bridge to nowhere is the name. It will be more than the 2 million stated. Remember we were told it was 1.4 million also. Council does think for themselves. What they want, not what the people want. A simple naming contest would have proven this. The bridge is a novelty that will pass. It sure isn’t bringing people downtown. The entitlement factor of past teachers and cops can not be ignored. Gary Dyke will soon follow Doug out the door and not soon enough for me. No more police going to citizens doors or character assassinations. Next out the door should be Bush. I find this man should not be in a position of authority at all. I was correct by not running for council after the return of the dysfunctional council with internet voting used. Kathryn was my goal and was the right choice. The results were like a bomb going off in a room. Total destruction of Doug’s campaign. Council will soon have to deal with a downtown SIS site that I feel the region will push for harder. It may well be a mobile site. I watch how many outside the bridges lack respect by tossing garbage or blocking traffic. This reflects badly on the shelter that tries to do good. People are fed up with these people and deserve to be put outside city limits or into an industrial zone away from the public. Rules seem irrelevant to numerous of these homeless and paint a bad picture for all. In my day chemical street drugs were illegal to have on you. Today, the government wants to assist those that poison their veins. My thoughts are, if you want to risk killing yourself, catching a disease, ruin your health, do so with no assistance from the people that pay taxes and try to make a better community that choose not to inject death. Those that try to make people feel guilty about not helping injectors should look at drying these people out in a 3 month withdrawal center. If someone ever provided someone in my family this poison can be guaranteed a short stay. Justice served by law.

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