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Alzheimer Society remains on the hook for road name change costs

Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

The region remains unwilling to offer financial assistance to the local Alzheimer Society chapter in anticipation of potential costs due to a scheduled renaming and renumbering of Regional Road 25, known as Champlain Avenue in the Town of Whitby.

The proposed plan would see a section of Champlain Avenue between Thickson Road South and Thornton Road South be renamed Stellar Drive.

The possibility of compensating the Alzheimer Society and other residents or businesses who may be affected by the road renaming was investigated by Durham Region staff earlier this year, but was ultimately recommended against in a May report.

According to that report, very few municipalities offer compensation for changes to street names, with the highest quoted amount in the report being $300.

Alzheimer Society of Durham Region executive director Denyse Newton told regional council at the June 7 committee of the whole meeting that she expects the need to recall, revise, reprint and redistribute promotional and educational materials will cost the organization approximately $8,300.

“This is not just a trip to the local post office,” Newton says. “[The] $8,300 is money that has not been budgeted for and will come out of the programs and services budgets.”

Newton said because the Alzheimer Society offers its services free of charge they do not “have the recourse to merely increase our fees like a private business.”

When the proposed renaming was first brought forward in last September 2016, Newton, told The Oshawa Express she was “shocked” by the news, becoming aware of it through an ad in the newspaper.

“I would have expected that we would have received direct notice from the region,” she said at that time.

In an effort to provide more time for those affected by street renaming to plan, an amendment to the related by-law was presented at the June 7 meeting, stating the by-law would come into effect on September 17, 2018.

However, Newton said while this would allow more time to plan, it doesn’t change the fact the Alzheimer Society will bear the costs alone.

“Regardless of when it comes into effect, it will affect us,” Newton told councillors.

Uxbridge Coun. Gerri Lynn O’ Connor queried whether the organization had considered putting an insert flyer in with its printed material advertising the potential address change.

“If you know a year-and-a-half in advance, you can put that date on anything you have to print,” O’ Connor said.

However, Newton said that date would be contingent on the construction project being completed on time, something she said she has never witnessed.

Oshawa Coun. Amy McQuaid-England said there was a potential for the address change creating “confusion for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia”.

McQuaid-England, who first put forth the motion to have staff investigate providing compensation to non-profit organizations affected by the name change last September, rhetorically asked how much $8,000 represents in the grand scheme of the region’s overall budget.

Newton told councillors that potential consequences from the new expenses include the delay of the Blue Umbrella program and Brain Waves cafes, reduction in public education seminars and 250 fewer hours in direct community support.

The matter is scheduled to go before regional council for a final vote at the June 14 meeting.