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Ctrl-Salt-Delete, the Parkwood Lake and visual identity
Also: How should we decide how much to pay council?
I don’t know if you’re feeling crambazzled or l’appel du vide but hopefully you were able to engage in some hibernation over the weekend. We’re into the busy season of winter with everything from AleFest to Coldsnap to the Iceman and much more coming our way. The rain isn’t great for skiing but at least we don’t have a great horned owl sending people to hospital.
Today’s newsletter includes council pay, a rebranding exercise for the chamber of commerce, and some good snow plow names.
When Premier David Eby arrives in Prince George Tuesday for the B.C. Natural Resources Forum he will be greeted by a protest rally organized by local environmental and labour groups who are using the pending closure of the Canfor Pulp and Paper Mill pulp line as an opportunity to call for a rethinking of forest management int he province.
Two days before unvaccinated city employees would have been terminated, the city has suspended its vaccination requirements program.
And obituaries for people who probably won’t get them — but should nevertheless be mourned:
When it comes to how much we pay our councillors, who should we be comparing ourselves to?
Last week I mentiond how I think it’s difficult to find a city to easily compare Prince George to, for a lot of reasons. But who we compare ourselves to matters in a lot of ways you might think about. Case in point: At tonight’s council meeting, elected politicians will be discussing the best way to figure out how much to pay themselves:
Currently, council remuneration is recommended by a committee that is struck in the final year of a council’s term. That committee looks at similar communities to determine remuneration, benefits, and expense reimbursement for the mayor and councillors. The communities examined are: Chilliwack, Kelowna, Sannich, (Township of) Langley, Delta, Kamloops, North Vancouver, Nanaimo, Victoria, and Coquitlam.
Here’s the problem: All of those cities are bigger than Prince George, most by tens of thousands of people. Does it really make sense that we would expect our mayor and councillors to be paid the same amount?
On the other hand, if you start going for cities smaller than Prince George as comparison, you’re quickly dropping down to municipalities that are just as different. We occupy a weird spot in the population scale where there’s only two or three cities in the province that are within a few thousand people of being the same.
If it doesn’t make sense to compare ourselves to Victoria, it probably also doesn’t make sense to do so to Vernon.
Either way, though, I’d argue it really doesn’t make sense to only compare ourselves to larger cities — having a mix of bigger and smaller ones would be good, as would an aim of having a few cities that occupy a similar role as regional hubs. Tonight, though, the decision being made by council is not which cities to compare to — it’s whether to ask staff to keep this list, make a new one or, as a third option, ditch the peer-municipality formula altogether and come up with something new for figuring out pay (which could also make sense, since I’m not sure the amount of work a mayor has operates on a sliding scale based on how many people are in the community).
Also on the council agenda:
Some other items of note:
A proposed policy for the process of requesting letters of support for grants. This, of course, comes about after councillor Brian Skakun and reporting in the Prince George Citizen raised questions about how councillor Kyle Sampson got letters of support from former mayor Lyn Hall to get grants for a for-profit music festival. The proposed policy doesn’t look to make it so every request be voted on by council — which would, I imagine, take up a lot of time, but it does provide a set of criteria that must be met in order for a letter to be issued and suggests more of the requests could be sent to council.
A pair of rezoning requests to accomodate yet more apartments in the city: the proposals are for a riverfront ‘apartment hotel’ on Queensway and the replacement of a single-family home in the Crescents neighbourhood with an eight-unit building. Staff recommends both be approved.
Some good snow plow names
The city of Hamilton held a contest to name its snow plows and the list of winners is great. First place is Max Kermanator, after the frontman for the Arkells, and the second-place finisher is the obvious choice of Plowy McPlowface. I’m partial to the third-place finisher CTRL-SALT-DELETE, personally, and the other winners were Clearopathra, Icekee Wee Wee, The Big Leplowski, HAMBONI, Betty Whiteout, Mr. Plow and Plowasaurus.
Another cool thing Hamilton is doing with snow plows is a real-time map showing where they are in a realtime, as well as where they’ve been and are forecast to be. Would love to see something like that here.
A new visual identity for the Chamber of Commerce
On Friday, the Prince George Chamber of Commerce held an event announcing a new logo, seen above. It replaces the old logo, which looked like this:
The new one is clearly a fair bit slicker, and comes with a whole lot of story. From the Prince George Post:
“Alyson Gourley-Cramer, principal and CEO of Monogram, described the occasion as a “thrill and honour”. She described that the process included speaking with Chamber members and learning more about what they expect, in addition to demographics and reflecting the economy of Prince George.
“Referencing the history of the organization, being the oldest Chamber of Commerce in B.C., Gourley-Cramer said that a tree was most suitable to form the basis of the logo.
“She describes that given the age of the Chamber, a tree representing stability, with branches reaching out representing the connections to the community, was the best choice for the logo. While acknowledging the recent closure of the pulp production line at the Canfor Pulp and Paper Mill, she also says the tree references the significance of the forest industry in the city.
“Within the logo, the tree also creates the letters P and G to represent Prince George, and the border represents a circular economy. The bottom of the tree also represents the confluence of the rivers.
Using a tree and rivers in a logo for a Prince George-based organization isn’t exactly innovative, but the execution, imo, is fresh enough that it stands apart from the many, many, many other groups using similar ideas.
It seems like we’re in a period of visual renewal for the city, with the Coldsnap Music Festival unveiling new designs from artist Allanah Kenoras-Schwandt (see below) and the city itself engaging in a new branding initiative. It’s cool to see the ideas people come up with and you can bet I’ll keep sharing them here as they come through.
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