The City of Nanaimo hopes its 100,000 citizens will raise their voices to help build community and pride of place.
Nanaimo city councillors, at a governance and priorities committee meeting Monday, gave the go-ahead for staff to begin work on developing a civic pride campaign.
The idea was one of the recommendations that came from the mayor’s task force on recovery and resilience that was set up in response to the pandemic. The task force called on citizens to be ‘builders’ and recommended a campaign to instill enthusiasm in Nanaimo’s assets, livability, opportunities, vibrancy and compassion.
A staff report suggested the campaign be called “100,000 Voices,” noting that the city’s population recently reached six digits. A concept logo includes a colour wheel, which the report said “represents an inclusive Nanaimo, the doughnut model, and the continuation of the findings from ReImagine Nanaimo,” which is an engagement campaign linked to city planning. “The different colours in the ‘O’ represent the diversity of the 100,000-plus voices who are shaping our spectacular city.”
The staff report also suggested the 100,000 Voices campaign could build toward the City of Nanaimo’s 150th anniversary of incorporation in 2024, and could also tie into other mayor’s task force recommendations of reconciliation and anti-racism work.
Response to the concept of the campaign was generally favourable. Coun. Zeni Maartman said she loved the campaign and called the concept logo “brilliant” and Coun. Ben Geselbracht was also effusive in his praise.
“I really do appreciate the creativity and the integration that’s happening,” he said. “I’m seeing these concepts of diversity and the doughnut and ReImagine all kind of coming together.”
Coun. Sheryl Armstrong said one thing she has heard from members of the public is confusion about branding.
“What is Nanaimo? One minute it’s the Harbour City, then it’s the Hub City, now it’s the doughnut city. We market ourselves so many ways,” Armstrong said.
The 100,000 Voices campaign’s concept objectives, according to the staff report, are to “generate enthusiasm for further rebuilding of all sectors of Nanaimo’s community,” leverage the “momentum and feedback” from ReImagine Nanaimo toward revitalization, and to “tell Nanaimo’s story” via marketing.
Councillors voted unanimously for staff to further develop the campaign concept and report back with a marketing and communication plan and a project budget.
Sheila Gurrie, the city’s director of legislative services, said public engagement on the campaign will overlap with the ReImagine Nanaimo process out of respect for possible engagement fatigue.
“[We’re] really just aligning this 100,000 Voices campaign with not only ReImagine, but a lot of the other good work that we’re doing – the beautifying of the downtown and the improvements that council has given us direction to undertake,” she said. “It’s taking everything that’s already happening and aligning this campaign with all of those good projects and things that are happening already.”