Sunshine is wonderful after so many grey days. Strangers smile at each other. People are out in their yards. Parks teem with little people. In my yard one crocus and one teeny tulip are blooming. Spring seems to have sprung. Maybe the weather will help people feel friendlier to city council and vice verse.
Every week seems to bring a new city issue and the latest fuss is over the new placebrand, the Republic of Life. Given what appears to have been a genuine effort to involve the public in the choosing process, it’s astonishing how many people didn’t know about it and how many aren’t enthused, including five former mayors.
All were concerned about the costs of the rebranding, which could be huge. (Did any current councillors think to ask about that?) Jim Fraser, Ethel Winger and Walt Cobb all worked hard to promote the western image. Scott Nelson thought any change would be bizarre. Rick Gibson said no matter what council does, Williams Lake will always be a proud western/Stampede town.
Some previous councils did look at changing the city’s image but decided to stay with ranching/rodeo. The history includes both First Nations and pioneer families, and that’s what makes us unique.
If I understand correctly, council says the new placebrand isn’t designed for locals to like or dislike, it’s to attract people from outside to come here. All city taxpayers have to do is shut up, pay the bills, and live with the consequences if the plan doesn’t work.
Except for Danica Hughes, councillors seem to be excited about the new image so it is highly unlikely they will change their minds. Like it or not, we’ll just have to learn how to keep a straight face when admitting we’re from Williams Lake, the Republic of Life.
By the way, just what is the cowboy spirit? Flinging the bull?
Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.