Choose to be a city and a city is exactly what we’ll become

Early last month, Delta council started the process of changing the official name of Delta from corporation to city, and asked the public for feedback.

First of all, thanks for asking. In many cases, this change would have been made without much fanfare or input. Take Vancouver’s recent logo change, and the gong show that has become. At least we have the opportunity to comment. We are a sensitive lot after all.

The catalyst for this was a recent trip to the Netherlands, where people there thought we were a business, not a community. There may have been previous incidents of confusion as well; I don’t think we should undertake this process just because one group was a little confused.

Plus, I don’t hear about a lot of trade coming from the Netherlands to Delta, now or in the future. I’m more concerned about what Pacific Rim countries think to be honest. If they like dealing with a business more than a government, someone hit the brakes.

Regardless of the reason for making the change, I don’t think it’s an issue to be taken lightly. To me, words matter. If we do change our name to the City of Delta, we start acting like a city; not a municipality, not a township, but a city. Richmond became a city in 1990. Yes, things have changed in the world dramatically since then, but so has Richmond.

To me, a city has a core, and residential spreads out from there. Delta has two areas that fit that description, Ladner and Tsawwassen. North Delta is sprawl along Scott Road, with residential backing to the west. We don’t have a city centre. We don’t even act like a single entity — the people in North Delta stay in North Delta, the folks in the South Delta tend to stay there as well. With the new mall, there’s even less reason to venture out. On top of that, our “city hall” is kind of in the middle of nowhere, with little likelihood of anything being built around it. I hope.

If people around the world are confused about Delta being called a corporation, what happens when we call ourselves a city? I can see the response: “Where is this city?” Try as I might, I couldn’t find one that resembled Delta. That seems to be the point.

Delta is different. We’ve never conformed. Heck, we’ve had an independent MLA for the last eight years — don’t lump us in with all those other folks. We didn’t even get the snow every other “city” got. So why should we follow everyone else’s lead now?

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There’s a reason I moved from the city to be here and raise my family. I like what makes us different. I think that’s our appeal, and our value. Others wanted to become bigger, so they changed their name. I don’t see that same desire around here.

But it only stops if you speak up. You can go to any recreation centre or library to register your opposition. For the process to be halted, they need about 7,000 signatures before March 31. So for, they have about 25. I guess it can’t wait until 2018 to have it added to the municipal election ballot.

The choice is ours. If we make it.

Brad Sherwin, MBA has over 25 years’ experience in marketing, public relations and business strategy. He is currently the director of marketing for a national non-profit organization.

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