Controversy prompts Brampton to cancel plans to name park after former politician

 

Brampton has decided to un-name a park after a former City councillor.

Following a discussion at a recent meeting, councillors reversed a decision made last fall that would have seen a new park named after John Sprovieri.

The move comes after some councillors said they recently received complaints about the park naming due to racially charged comments made by Sprovieri in 2017.

Back then, in response to an email sent to all councillors entitled "Why are white people still planning Brampton's future?", Sprovieri responded by saying, "white people of this nation have developed a great system" and that newcomers to the country should "learn the values of the white people so that Brampton and Canada will continue to be a favourite destination."

Sprovieri subsequently apologized after the public backlash over his remarks and he was reprimanded in 2018 when Brampton's integrity commissioner determined he violated the City's code of conduct. He ran for mayor later that year and was defeated by Patrick Brown.

The park, to be located at Goreway Dr. and Humberwest Pkwy, was initially set to honour Sprovieri, who served on Brampton council for more than 30 years.

Initially, in considering the name of the park, the City of Brampton said that Sprovieri "was dedicated to the growth and potential of his wards" and contributed to "the diverse, vibrant community here today."

However, councillors have now backtracked, stripping his name off the list of other former local politicians who will have parks or facilities named after them including Susan Fennell, Bob Callahan and Sandra Hames.

In coming to their decision, several councillors praised Sprovieri's decades-long work on council but felt recent public reaction couldn't be ignored.

Mayor Patrick Brown said he received several complaints about the park naming and councillors should have allowed for more public input when the decision was made last September.

"There was a decision made by council that wasn't necessarily thought out, said Brown. "I've had leaders in my community say they were beyond frustrated."

Councillors passed the motion to remove Sprovieri's name by a vote of 9-2.

(Photo: Former Brampton councillor John Sprovieri)

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