A year ago the conversation around a possible name change for Powell River began, with consultations, education efforts, information sessions and campaigning of differing opinions that went on for months and continue today.
Data was collected and presented to the previous city council last summer, in the form of a joint working group’s possible name change report. Those council members then referred the report’s recommendations to our current city council, and eight months later, we still have no movement on how things will proceed.
The wait has incurred a festering division. We have reached a point where residents are now rallying and protesting at city council meetings, seeking attention on the matter.
The possible name change report was submitted 10 months ago, and public demonstrations continue, both in favour of and against the renaming, and in some cases, pushing for a referendum or opinion poll on the matter.
Behind the scenes and on social media, the rhetoric is worsening as the saga drags on, and causing more rifts in the community. Objectivity is now nonexistent, as is genuinely listening to someone else’s opinion, or facts, which is a commentary on life in general these days.
It is only a matter of time before things escalate beyond the so far peaceful representations and desire to promote positions.
No business deserves to be targeted for something out of its control, regardless of how the owners, managers or employees feel about the topic at hand.
A decision at this point belongs to the elected mayor and councillors. Council members were elected to make decisions, especially difficult ones. Ultimately the choice is theirs to make.
People are entrenched in their opinions about the possible renaming. Further delays are not going to change their minds, so it is time for a decision to be made, in the best interest of everyone.
The possible name change has been referred to the city’s strategic planning process. A consultant leading the process has indicated information will be coming back to city councillors in the next couple of weeks.
It can’t come soon enough. We’ve waited too long for some kind of action, whether it is to move forward with the renaming process, or decide to stick with the status quo and deal with the result.
The possible name change report from the joint working group, which totalled 11 people and included elected and staff representatives from the city and Tla’amin Nation, can be found online at powellriver.ca/pages/pnc.