New logo may be a no go

Choosing a new city brand may take longer than expected. Monday, council received a petition signed by 845 people demanding Whitehorse keep the sternwheeler logo.

Choosing a new city brand may take longer than expected.

Monday, council received a petition signed by 845 people demanding Whitehorse keep the sternwheeler logo.

“What I’ve learned is that there is a tremendous amount of passion for the sternwheeler,” said Vanessa Brault.

She collected the signatures in six days. Over several weeks, the city got 681 responses to its online survey pitching new logos.

Politicians are set to vote on the new brand on Monday.

Coun. Ranj Pillai wants it delayed.

“I’d like to defer this and see an open dialogue,” said Pillai, who warned that adopting a brand without a buy-in from the public would be detrimental for the project.

“I’ve gotten a tremendous amount of emails on this,” he said.

Earlier, city staff recommended council adopt the stylized horse logo and the slogan “Above All Expectations,” as the city’s new brand – the most popular of three presented to citizens according to survey results (the sternwheeler was not among them).

“I know that no matter what council does some people will disagree,” said Mayor Bev Buckway.

“The community took part, it was community driven,” she said. “At what point do we quit redoing it?”

“We quit redoing things when we do it right,” said Coun. Doug Graham.

The process was flawed, and the sternwheeler was never given a chance because it was eliminated so early in, said Graham.

“We screwed up and we have to do it again,” he said to a smattering of applause from the gallery.

There was also confusion about the scope of the rebranding effort.

The new brand will replace logos on city letterhead, buildings, vehicles and more than 2,000 signs scattered throughout the municipality.

This surprised Coun. Dave Stockdale.

“I was under the impression that we were branding things that left the city,” said Stockdale. “I thought we would be leaving these signs.

“I’m a little concerned.”

The cost of putting the new logo on all the city’s vehicles and signs is expected to cost around $20,000 over the next two years. This comes just a couple of weeks after politicians endorsed a four-per-cent tax increase over the next several years, refusing to delay the vote to consider ways to cut costs.

The rebranding was paid for with a $50,000 grant from the Yukon government, with another $10,000 from city coffers.

Much of the city’s $10,000 investment hasn’t been spent and could be used to fund the implementation, said Matthew Grant, the city’s manager of communications.

With taxes going up, and so many important things needed in the city, Brault questioned why so much money should be spent on this project.

“I’m still a little confused as to why we’re doing this,” she said. “I don’t know what the logo for Paris is, but I still want to go there.”

Many people supported the sternwheeler logo but didn’t sign the petition because they didn’t feel council would listen anyway, said Brault.

“From day one I think there was a problem with communication,” said Pillai. “If we don’t listen, this is not something I’m comfortable with.”

It seems the same councillors who tried to delay the budget vote last week may try to defer this vote as well.

The rebranding bylaws will be back for first and second reading on Monday.

Delaying the vote would help build excitement for the rebranding project and help bring the public on board, said Pillai.

“It’s a no-lose situation for the city.”

Contact Josh Kerr at