Over the past several months I have been reading about our new “brand” Wellness Awaits You in Ashcroft. I’m not all that familiar with brands other than those on cattle, clothing and food. I am rather new to the branding of a village, town or city and so you must excuse me if I seem a little out of touch. I’ve read of the meetings to discuss the Ashcroft brand, but I’ve been preoccupied with care giving for my 95 year old mother, so I did not get involved in the process.
I arrived in Ashcroft in the fall of 1974 and the only knowledge that I possessed of Ashcroft was what I had heard while teaching in Sparwood. A teacher was offered a job in Ashcroft and another teacher said you don’t want to go there, that’s the desert of B.C. I arrived on Sept. 19 and it certainly lived up to its reputation. It was 109F (43C) at 3:30 in the afternoon. The sand and sagebrush certainly reminded me of the deserts I had seen in California and the Southwestern United States.
There was something else that captured my attention as I prepared to turn off the highway and descend into Ashcroft, a sign that read Welcome to Historic Ashcroft. Having graduated from university with a degree in physical education and history the year before, my curiosity was piqued. What is so historic about Ashcroft?
Could it have been the teacher librarian at the elementary school who had been the original Minnie Mouse at Disneyland, or the fact that Dan Blocker and Lorne Greene had owned a ranch just out of Cache Creek, or perhaps that Raymond Burr had once called Ashcroft home for a short time during his formative years? That’s pretty impressive for a small town, but that just wets the appetite to discover more of what made Ashcroft the town it is today. We have a wonderful museum and curator that can provide a wealth of information describing the colorful characters and events comprising the story of Ashcroft. Our heritage park lends further insight as to the history and geography of the area.
Perhaps it is just me, but Wellness awaits you in Ashcroft somehow doesn’t pique my curiosity the way that Historic Ashcroft did. Should I happen to venture off the highway as a tourist to discover what wellness means, where do I go, and what or who do I see that demonstrates wellness in Ashcroft? I can envision wellness in Harrison, Fairmont or Radium Hotsprings, but what evokes the same thoughts in Ashcroft?
A wise friend once shared the thought that there is one constant in life and that is change. he said that we have three choices regarding change: 1) resist it, 2) accept it and 3) plan for it. Perhaps I am getting old, but this is one change that I am having difficulty embracing. Perhaps the folks that I have been talking with are not an accurate sampling of the community sentiment but they seem opposed to this “branding” almost unanimously. I would certainly like to speak with some of the proponents of this change in an effort to ascertain the motivation behind it and how it will serve to improve our community. I am given to understand that this is not funded locally and is the result of a government grant, which to the best of my knowledge still involves our tax dollars. Times of economic recession call for financial restraint, not frivolous spending. If this “branding” will truly help better our community I will certainly support it. If not I would refer to the old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
I would suggest that one way of resolving this matter would be putting it to a popular vote or referendum at the next civic election and then abiding by the decision of the majority. There would be no extra cost incurred by having it on the ballot and it might provide an interesting forum for perspective council candidates. It would be interesting to know what motivated the necessity of this change.