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Resident says ‘Westville Road’ as a community doesn’t work

This map shows the community called Westville Road, shaded in green. County council recently passed a motion to rename the Mount William Road portion to Mount William.
This map shows the community called Westville Road, shaded in green. County council recently passed a motion to rename the Mount William Road portion to Mount William.

Originally from Pictou County, Ron LeLievre moved back to the area about a year ago, buying a house on Westview Drive.

He was familiar with the area because in the past he had often visited relatives there, and had always known the area to be called Mount William.

Imagine his surprise when he received a notice from Canada Post advising him that changes were being made to rural routes and his new address would be in the community of Westville Road.

He said his first reaction was that it was a mistake because Westville Road is a street between New Glasgow and Westville.

And it turns out that quite a few people who live there weren’t even aware that the community’s name is Westville Road.

The community called Westville Road stretches from the New Glasgow boundary near Highway 104 along the street of Westville Road all the way to where Highland Ford is located at Exit 21 on the Trans Canada Highway, and includes many streets that branch off the main street, including Munroe Avenue Extension and Truro Road.

“It’s a strange amorphic shaped territory that has no relation to Westville Road,” said LeLievre. “It’s confusing for this reason.”

He brought the matter to the attention of the Municipality of Pictou County several months ago, asking that the name of the community of Westville Road be changed to a better representative and less confusing name that describes the community as a land mass, and not a road.

“Most residents are not aware of this name and have and continue to use the historic name Mount William or other names to describe the geographic location,” LeLievre noted in his presentation. “The reference to the word ‘road’ in Westville Road is confusing because Westville Road is an existing street that is only partially in the area known as Westville Road. Moreover, the use of the word road to describe a large community is also confusing.”

LeLievre visited residents on three streets in his immediate neighbourhood – Westview Drive connects to Mount William Road – and said most people didn’t know that they live in an area called Westville Road, believing it was called Mount William. “It was a surprise to them – they hadn’t ever heard about an area called Westville Road,” he said.

“When I attempted to explain it, while visiting peoples in their homes, most people had a difficult time understanding the difference between the community of Westville Road and the street Westville Road. Some refused to believe that they lived in such a community.”

During LeLievre’s first eight months of living on Westview Drive, he said he also experienced difficulties with deliveries and friends trying to locate his house using GPS.

After his presentation, county staff conducted a survey about the community name.

Results of the survey, open from Feb. 13 to 28, found that 42 per cent of the responders didn’t know the name, while 58 per cent did. Of the 68 responses from the 250 households in the survey area – a 26 per cent response rate – 48 per cent were in favour of it becoming part of the community of Mount William.

County CAO Brian Cullen said feedback from the survey noted some in favour of changing the community name, believing that the area has always been referred to as Mount William, that it would be less confusing, that Westville Road isn’t widely recognized as a community and it would help with delivery of services.

However, others were opposed to changing the name because they felt the area has always been referred to as Westville Road and they already changed their address and didn’t want to go through the process again.

“The real confusion exists because Westville Road is a road within the community of Westville Road,” said Cullen.

He said staff plotted the responses on a map, and used the findings to make a recommendation to council members. “When we looked at the map and where responses came from, clearly if people lived on Mount William Road they thought it should be Mount William. Along Westville Road, there was absolutely no consensus whatsoever.”

Based on the recommendation, council recently passed a motion to adjust the community name of Mount William to include properties that front on Mount William Road and properties located on roads that come off Mount William Road. But the rest of the area will remain called Westville Road.

“I’m pleased that it will eliminate the confusion,” said LeLievre about his own address.

Cullen said the county uses the Nova Scotia Civic Addressing File database, as does Canada Post, but some other agencies, such as delivery companies, may use a different one, resulting in some of the misunderstandings. He said no issues exist with emergency services locating addresses.

According to information from the Nova Scotia Geographic Names Program, the decision to adopt the community name Westville Road was made on June 16, 2005. This took place after the provincial civic address project review done in conjunction with Emergency Services.

A second motion was passed at county council to direct staff to develop a policy surrounding the changing of community boundaries in the future.

Why Canada Post made the change

Canada Post implemented civic addressing in the community of Westville Road on Sept. 19, 2016.

“We’ve been doing this program all over the country for the past few years,” said Darcia Kmet of Canada Post media relations.

She said civic addressing is the matching of a "physical address" to the "mailing address" and gives customers one consistent address to serve both purposes.

“Additionally, civic addressing helps Canada Post improve efficiency and accuracy of mail and parcel delivery, while also assisting 911 emergency responders.”

Canada Post notified affected residents of Westville Road of the change and a follow-up letter will be sent out shortly to remind them of their updated address.

A free redirection service is also being provided for one year to ensure a smooth transition and provide residents enough time to manage the change effectively.

Kmet noted that Canada Post doesn’t create municipal names – they’re provided by local governing authorities, which in this case is the Province of Nova Scotia.  

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