Time to promote city’s liveability, not negativity, residents tell council

A feeling of change was in the air at city council on Monday, with both public delegations focusing on the promotion of the Alberni Valley.

A feeling of change was in the air at city council on Monday night, with both public delegations focusing on the promotion of the Alberni Valley.

First to the mic was Malcolm Menninga to outline the benefits of promoting liveability in Port Alberni.

“Why is it that Port Alberni stagnates when every other city on Vancouver Island has experienced significant growth over the past three decades?”

Menninga believes that in order to capitalize on the 80 per cent of residents who move to Vancouver Island in pursuit of lifestyle, not jobs, the city must promote liveability.

“It is the promotion of liveability that we must focus on if we are to attract new residents to invest and live here.”

He emphasized that in no way was the promotion of liveability to exclude industry but that more funding needs to be put into other initiatives.

According to Menninga, “here is a direct link between appealing waterfront access and economic prosperity” and the city must do more to transform Canal Beach into an attraction. Menninga requested the city put $250,000 into beautifying Canal Beach, $101,000 to bylaw enforcement, $35,000 into the Johnston Road planters and $250,000 into expanding the economic development office.

Promotion of Port Alberni’s best qualities was also the topic of the next delegation from Tim and Ev Miller-Towle, who presented their Alberni Valley branding: “the Alberni Valley, the place where the Island smiles.”

Ev, who has worked in the creative and arts field, has been designing T-shirts with “the place where the Island smiles” and her husband Tim has been selling them since 2009.

According to Ev, “this brand has undergone market research since 2009 and that’s generally unknown for brands.”

The Miller-Towles presented their brand to the city in hopes that it would spur on new external marketing initiatives.

“With ‘the place where the Island smiles’ we celebrate our people, present citizens and newcomers alike,” Ev said. “This is very much grassroots, created by people from here.”

City council voted to refer the new branding initiative to the economic development office.