Council listens to Wellness opponents

Group presents petition to Ashcroft Council, asking them to reconsider the "Wellness Awaits You" brand.

Ashcroft’s “Wellness Awaits You” brand was discussed at Council’s committee of the whole meeting on June 25 as proponents of a recent survey presented their results and asked Council to “revisit the brand.”

The definition of wellness is vague, said Ray Bewza, and the “multi-coloured cow patties” are ugly.

Bewza and Doreen Lambert attended the meeting with about 10 supporters and presented their survey which had been placed in eight area retail outlets and collected 221 signatures. Thirty-four, they said, agreed with the brand, 24 were undecided. The rest disagreed with it.

Bewza asked Council why they abandoned the western theme recommended by the consultant company, Destination Development International (DDI). “It was accepted by everyone, including Council,” he said.

Mayor Andy Anderson replied that DDI was not part of the brand development. The company came to explain the reasons for branding and the process to follow, but the actual development was left to a company called Flair Innovations. Flair conducted several public meetings and consulted with public inviduals and groups.

Bewza said he knew about the meetings but didn’t know “they were going to switch directions.”

“How do I explain to people in 10 words or less what wellness is?” asked Lambert. She said she had attended meetings of the branding committee and asked for a definition, which they didn’t provide.

“It’s not the same for everybody,” Anderson replied. He added that the first consultant told them that a brand would take a number of years to be fully developed and accepted.

“We were told that a successful brand will create a lot of resistance,” said Dave Durksen, who attended meetings with both DDI and Flair. He said the DDI consultant told them that there were already dozens of communities sporting a historic-themed brand.

Someone in the public audience suggested that the brand be put to a vote right away.

“If it has to go to a referendum in the future, then it will,” said Anderson.

Council suggested that they attend the branding committee meetings to try and work on a compromise.