Australia

City accused of naming too many public squares after white people

 (REUTERS/David Gray, File)

 

City planners have been accused of commemorating too many “white people” in the naming of streets and squares.

But a plan to rename a Sydney square — which currently pays homage to controversial French war ruler Napoleon Bonaparte — has been criticized for being unnecessary and a waste of thousands of dollars of taxpayers' money.

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Far from the new name distancing itself from the French leader, it will now commemorate one of the emperor’s soldiers.

Napoleon Plaza, which lies at the center of a new $306 million commuter walkway in Sydney, was only given its Gallic-themed name a few months ago.

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At the time the City of Sydney gave “in principle support” to a proposal from Transport for New South Wales to use the imperial name and signage in the area and online already says Napoleon Plaza.

But Napoleon Plaza is to be no more after the city council received just a handful of complaints.

One submission claimed “there are too many places in the city named after white people,” reported the Daily Telegraph.

Another complainant said naming the square — which lies beneath a skyscraper and a motorway — after a centuries old emperor, lends “credibility to the perception of Australians as cultural yobs.”

Under Napoleon’s rule in the 17th century, France’s power dramatically increased as the country invaded much of western Europe. Captured by British forces, he died in exile on a remote Atlantic island in 1821.

The change of name to Girard Place, commemorating Francis Girard who fought in Napoleon’s army, will reportedly cost $6,000.

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