Crosstown elementary invites cross-town derision

Former trustee, NDP candidate and DPAC members lament district’s naming decision

One Nation, Pluralism and Worldview didn’t cut the mustard, while Schooly McSchoolerson didn’t even make the final list.

As such, the Vancouver School District has settled on Crosstown elementary as the name for the new school that’s being built near Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver.

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The decision was made at Wednesday night’s meeting by the district’s naming committee. A shortlist of 39 names were submitted by 47 people.

The staff report accompanying Wednesday’s decision notes the name reflects the divergence of neighbourhoods surrounding the school: Gastown, Chinatown, Yaletown, Downtown and Northeast False Creek.

Cue the outrage from all corners of the Internet.

Former trustee Patti Bacchus characterized the moniker as “uninspired” and “disappointing.”

She took to Twitter to voice her displeasure in more than a dozen tweets aimed primarily at official trustee Dianne Turner.

“A name only a government-appointed bureaucrat/trustee could chose,” she wrote. “So bland. Missed opportunity.”

“What happens when a govt-appointed bureaucrat gets the sole vote on a school name,” another tweet read.

It went on. And on.

“I guarantee an elected board would have made a better decision.”

“VSB should have chosen a culturally significant name — 'Crosstown' sounds like a mini mall, condo devlpt or bus route. Blah.”

Not to be outdone, Vancouver-False Creek NDP candidate Morgane Oger also chimed in on the interwebs.

“Typical: Christy Clark's #VSB head ignores heritage, neighbours, parents. names #Vancouver school after fake #vanre name 'crosstown,’” she tweeted. 

The school board’s naming policy states:
“Names selected for Vancouver schools should honour the historical and cultural/ethnic heritage — including the First Nations community, recognize outstanding individuals, be reflective of the region, or be significant to the geography of the area. Names of individuals should only be used posthumously.”

A sizeable portion of the 39 names submitted seemingly fit the board’s criteria: names were put forward that recognize contributions from First Nations and Chinese communities. Terry Fox’s name was also bandied about, along with former Vancouver Canucks coach Pat Quinn, celebrated musician Dal Richards, long-time city councillor Jim Green and George Vancouver. 

The naming committee will consider a dual Aboriginal name next year. Two other schools that have dual names include Grandview elementary/¿uuqinak’uuh and Point Grey/stəywəte:n secondary.

The Vancouver District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) opposed the name as well. A tweet sent out after the meeting read, “Personally very disheartened by the VSB’s decision tonight not to name the new school at Intl Village something meaningful.”

The initials “NW” were attached to the online missive. DPAC’s current acting chair and vice chair is Nathan Wilkes.

The school is slated to open in March 2017 on Expo Boulevard. Its catchment area will encompass Burrard to Main streets, Waterfront to False Creek, and Davie and Nelson streets.

@JohnKurucz

jkurucz@vancourier.com

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