Now into its second week, local discussion around the history of Brandon’s Rosser Avenue and it’s controversial namesake has continued with a new petition created to show support for encouraging Brandon City Council to rename the street that stretches the full width of the City from East to West.
The street is named for Virginia, USA-born Thomas Lafayette Rosser, who as Chief Engineer of the Canadian Pacific Railway for less than a year in the early 1880s played a significant part in expanding the railroad in Westward alongside the settling of communities such as Brandon.
The new petition notes Rosser’s history prior working for the railroad in which he was a Confederate Army Major General in the American Civil War as well as circumstances that led to an eventual firing from the railroad for selling privileged information for personal financial gain. That history is documented in more detail in a posting on the Manitoba Historical Society’s website at http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/mb_history/56/rosserlegacy.shtml
In a story last week on the rename campaign by the Brandon Sun, Mayor Rick Chrest is quoted as saying that council would not approach the issue without significant feedback from the community first. "This street belongs to the community, its history is part of the community. Our community should have a say in the matter," Chrest told the Sun's Drew May.
Ongoing discussion on eBrandon has seen varying opinions with some supporting removal and replacement of the name from the street and others preferring to have the name left untouched.
The online petition has received just over 80 signings as of the time of this posting since being created on Monday. It can be reviewed at:
The city has seen a handful of high profile petitions over the past year. More than 2,700 signed in support of stopping the demolition of Downtown's Park Community Centre in late 2019. Earlier this year a petition to support accessibility improvements to the City's Sportsplex saw more than 2,100 signatures while a petition one year ago to ban single-use plastic bags saw nearly 1,200 signings