Around 50 people showed up for a place brand meeting hosted by the city Wednesday.

Around 50 people showed up for a place brand meeting hosted by the city Wednesday.

City branding controversy continues

Most of the people who shared their ideas at the place branding meeting last Wednesday said they have not been satisfied with the process.

Most of the people who shared their ideas at the place branding meeting hosted by the city last Wednesday said they have not been satisfied with the process.

Last month the city developed a survey after there was strong opposition to the proposed tagline “Welcome to the Republic of Life,” and promised it would hold public meetings.

To date 180 people have completed the survey, said city manager of economic development Alan Madrigga.

“The input on the surveys we have received so far definitely show that there are some folks that have very different ideas of one community,” Madrigga said.

He also confirmed the city will continue to pursue a place brand, suggesting generic advertising that is the same as what everyone else has, is not going to get the city noticed.

Fifty people attended the meeting and after Madrigga’s presentation, approximately 12 requested to speak.

Resident Marg Bublitz said 180 completed surveys indicated the process is not working.

“I spent 20 years in advertising in this city and I have to tell you, we’re here because we care,” she said of the people at the meeting.

“If 180 people did the survey, but what about the rest? They are not here.”

Bublitz told Madrigga he needs to get out and talk to people rather than host a meeting because 180 people isn’t “cutting it.”

Former mayor Jim Fraser said he supported going back to a western theme and asked if council would consider going to a referendum on branding.

“I’ve asked a number of professionals if they thought branding would attract people and never got a yes,” Fraser added.

Donna Ford said she and her husband do not support any money being spent on branding.

“Why did we have to hire someone from Vancouver Island to come and brand our city? Why isn’t that being done in-house?” Ford asked. “We’ve got our brand and can do the marketing with the brand we’ve got.”

Peter Epp said if the gist of place branding is to attract and keep people in Williams Lake then the city needs to “stop wasting taxpayers’ money” and keep the taxes down so people can afford to live in Williams Lake.

Resident Doug Wilson suggested if the plan is to woo 30-something year-old people to Williams Lake, then there need to be employment opportunities available for them.

Cariboo GM owner Brian Garland suggested nobody can brand Williams Lake better than the people who live here.

“We’ve got it,” he said.  “Nobody could write the script better than we can. All we have to do is keep doing it right and not mess it up.”

Geoff Moore asked if the city’s decision to pursue a place brand was proactive or reactive due to a pitch it received from a company and Madrigga answered it was the city’s idea to pursue branding.

Moore said his own children are in the 30-something demographic and they did not like the “Republic of Life” tagline.

He said reaching consensus on a brand is a challenge.

“The reality of where we’re going is some mix of the historical character that we are and who we will evolve into in the future,” Moore said, adding the Western heritage isn’t going away.

“If we just be ourselves and take care of ourselves it comes naturally  and effortlessly and we don’t have to spend much more money than the personal relationships it takes to develop, which is some travel and some marketing.”

The “Republic of Life” tagline did receive mileage, despite the overwhelmingly negative reaction, he added.

Willie Dye agreed and said, “republic” got people talking about Williams Lake all over the province.

“I didn’t mind “The Republic of Life,” he added.

A brand is an umbrella and while maybe the “the Republic of Life” wasn’t the right umbrella, the city needs an umbrella that encompasses what Williams Lake is, Dye suggested.

“I think we’ve had a lot of great brands in the past, but I don’t think we ever had a consistent approach. I think it’s been hit and miss over the years.”

The city’s place brand survey is available on the city’s website and in paper form from city hall. The deadline is June 14.

 

Just Posted

Pauline Schmutz, 75, receives her COVID-19 vaccine from public health nurse Donna McKenzie on Tuesday, April 13 at the community clinic at Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake campus. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Additional COVID-19 vaccine clinics scheduled for Horsefly, Big Lake

Anyone 18 and over who has not received a vaccine yet is encouraged to register

The Cariboo Regional District. (Angie Mindus photo)
Industrial park slated for Watch Lake Road

Building company Omnitek to start building new plant on 32-acre site

Kokanee Bay Fishing Resort on Puntzi Lake has been purchased by Tsideldel First Nation. (Kokanee Bay Fishing Resort photo)
Tsideldel First Nation buys Kokanee Bay Fishing Resort at Puntzi Lake

“It’s a good opportunity for the band, our children and our future,” said Chief Otis Guichon

Demolition work is underway at the corner of Oliver Street and Mackenzie Avenue. (Angie Mindus photo)
Demolition work begins on Ming’s Restaurant building in Williams Lake

The historic building suffered extensive water damage during a large fire downtown in 2019

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen (18) and Calgary Flames’ Josh Leivo, front right, vie for the puck as goalie Jacob Markstrom, back left, watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen sued over alleged sexual assault

Statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

(Kamloops This Week)
Puppy’s home in question as BC Supreme Court considers canine clash

Justice Joel Groves granted an injunction prohibiting the sale or transfer of the dog

Kayak the humpback whale was found dead on a Haida Gwaii beach on Saturday, May 15, 2021. (Marine Education and Research Society)
Kayak the humpback whale found dead on Haida Gwaii beach

Whale was estimated to be only 18 years old

Then-finance minister Kevin Falcon presents his last B.C. budget, Feb. 21, 2012. The province was emerging from the 2009-10 recession and repaying federal incentive to cancel the harmonized sales tax. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Political veteran Kevin Falcon set for second run at B.C. Liberal leadership

Vancouver MLA Michael Lee announces on the same day

Conservation Service Officer Kyle Bueckert holds a gold eagle that was revived from acute rodent poisoning Monday, May 12. Photo: Submitted
‘Obviously, he’s a fighter’: Golden eagle, recovered from poisoning, back in Kootenay wild

CSO Kyle Bueckert released the eagle into the wild Thursday, May 13

Most Read