Mayor expresses frustration over road name

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn has described the process for naming a road in Tenindewa as “bureaucratic nonsense” as a third submission has been declined.

The 1.1km unnamed stretch of gravel road in the Tenindewa town site directly abuts the Tenindewa Store which was originally built in 1935.

After much research, the Tenindewa community first suggested ‘Tenindewa Store Rd’ however Geographic Names advised that they did not support the name because there was already several roads containing the name ‘Tenindewa’.

Next the community suggested ‘Foster Road’ after a local pioneer of the area. However this was also rejected because within Geraldton, approximately 100 kilometres away, there is a road called ‘Foster Place’.

After more research and consideration the Tenindewa Progress Association, on behalf of the greater Tenindewa community, recommended the road name ‘Griffiths Road’ as the name not only honours the builder of the Store, Bill Griffiths, but the role of the Store in the growth of the community over the last 80 years.

The City of Greater Geraldton Council supported the application in honour of the pertinent history of the area. The information provided by the Association included justification for the road name and a letter of support from a living descendent of Mr Griffiths.

However Geographic Names have not supported the submission of Griffiths Road for the reason being that there was “no evidence of strong justification”.

Mayor Van Styn said he was concerned and saddened that despite the in-depth information provided, the naming request was denied even after the third attempt.

“The local community is very actively trying to preserve its history and the proposed name of Griffiths Road pays homage not only to Mr Bill Griffiths and his family, but also to the wider community,” he said.

“Regional towns such as Tenindewa play a very important role in our history and long legacy and I feel that the historic stretch of road should be named appropriately.

“This is now the third name suggestion from the community and it seems that no matter the justification, the names put forward keep being quashed.

“It would be very difficult for the community’s hard work in naming the road to not be recognised due to a bureaucratic policy.”

In an unfortunate turn of events, the Tenindewa community lost many of their records in a flood in the 1970s but despite setbacks, the community has worked tirelessly to record their history, honour their community spirit and interpret the history of their town.

Mayor Van Styn said he has written to Minister for Transport; Planning; Lands, Hon. Rita Saffioti MLA to look past the bureaucracy of the approvals process and look to the significance the road name holds in the community.

“I have written to the Minister to draw attention to the bureaucratic nonsense that has been playing out with respect to the naming of the unnamed road reserve,” he said.

“It is difficult to understand why the State has dedicated so much time and effort to thwart the efforts of a proactive rural community who simply want to name a road.

“I am asking the Minister to look past the bureaucracy of the approvals process and look to the significance this road name holds in the community and the opportunity this presents to provide historical interpretation in a declining regional town.”