Lantzville district hall. (News Bulletin file)

Residents can have a hand in creating Lantzville’s brand

Open house March 14 aims to engage residents about branding and economic development

The District of Lantzville is hoping its residents will help it looking toward the future.

On Wednesday, March 14, between 6:30-8:30 p.m. the district will be hosting a drop-in open house at Costin Hall where residents can share their thoughts, feelings and ideas for what Lantzville’s brand and economy should look like in the future.

It’s beginning of an initiative dubbed Lantzville: Beyond Business as Usual, which aims to create a logo and brand for Lantzville as well as an economic development strategy that will identify short- and long-term goals for the community.

Creating a brand and economic development strategy for the municipality was one of the priorities identified by councillors in their 2016-2018 strategic priorities list. Last year, councillors approved spending $70,000 on the file.

Councillors also created a economic development strategic plan and community branding select committee, which has since hired Vancouver-based firm EcoPlan to lead the Beyond Business as Usual project and host the open house.

Colleen Hamilton, a planning associate with EcoPlan who will be leading the open house, said that her company is handling the economic development aspect of the project while Taiji Brand Group, a Duncan-based digital communications firm, will handle the community branding portion. She said the open house is an opportunity for the residents to share their thoughts about Lantzville’s identity and economic future in a more interactive environment.

“It won’t be like a town hall style meeting with a presentation and questions. There will be activity stations throughout the room,” she said. “We want people to share their ideas of where they want to go and how to get there.”

Hamilton said it’s rare for communities to undertake branding and economic development strategies at the same time. She said the goal of the event is to get people interested and thinking about branding and economic development.

“We always find that when we tell people we are doing an economic development project that people’s eyes always glaze over,” she said. “Part of our goal here is to explain to people that the economy is really important to everyone, whether you have a business or not.”

When it comes to economic development and branding, Hamilton said it’s common for municipalities to start out by thinking about where they want to go and what they want to achieve long-term. She said in Lantzville’s case, it appears that residents are split on the future of the community, which can make it harder to identify core values and key goals.

“There are two very different visions of where Lantzville wants to go,” she said.

Hamilton said it’s unclear how long the overall branding and economic development process will take because the district has yet to adopt its updated official community plan. A $30,000 grant from the Island Coastal Economic Trust has been used to cover a portion of the costs associated with the project.

A website has been created, bit.ly/lantzville, where residents can share their thoughts and rank other people’s thoughts about economic development and branding in Lantzville. In order to encourage residents to share their thoughts online, EcoPlan is giving away $50 gift cards to Riso and the Lantzville Pub.

For more information about the entire process visit www.lantzvillebeyond.com or www.lantzville.ca.



nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com

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