Wednesday, 22 June 2016
Following is a presentation (here with minor clarifications) made to the Committee of the Whole (COW), 20 June, 2016, concerning the new logo/slogan of Nelson and Kootenay Lake Tourism (NKLT).
In addition there are thoughts about the NKLT's response in the same COW.
Unfortunately for Nelson the new logo and slogan are no improvement over the previous ones. Does anyone remember those? The new ones also fail to make Nelson appear unique.
Being unique: key to tourism-bucks anywhere.
A logo is a face: a pictograph identifying a product, service, place over another with - ideally - must-buy visual impact. It is a determinant in product-, service-, or place-recognition. When strong: potential customers relate positively - curious and eager to buy. When weak: the target-market relates indifferently - reluctant to buy and apt to go with a more focused zap somewhere else.
If the new logo - pointlessly jumbled - were not including the word Tourism it might just as easily represent a contractor or plumber. There is no sensitivity, oneness with Nelson, its people and environment. The colorless design as a whole is boring.
This logo is weak.
A slogan is a catchy marker in words - a catch phrase. It may be an addition to the visuals of a logo. Ideally slogan/logo form a compelling whole.
This Slogan's Visuals
Visually Free Spirits & Well-Rounded Squares is no different from the logo. The freedom of these spirits is fixed within a soft-drink label; the well-rounded squares are to be found on the same construction-site - and just as boring.
This Slogan's Message
Plans of free spirits probably are not predetermined by a tour(ism)-guide.
How free can you bee?
If squares refers to the opposite of free spirits: square vs. hip went out of use decades ago. Nobody refers to squares any longer - not even squares! There must be a segment of the NKLT's target-market which has no idea what's meant by squares. Having been around the block a few times - I am well-familiar with that label, but I have never heard of well-rounded squares.
Confusing a target-audience means losing them even before they can be hooked - never mind reeled-in.
Also - well-rounded or not - categorizing potential tourists as squares is patronizing.
This slogan is weak.
Seeing that Nelson depends on tourism, and City Hall enables funding for the NKLT to promote us: it would have been more appropriate to present logo and slogan to Council (or just about anybody not connected to the NKLT) for input before locking them in - not after, whereby not giving outsiders the opportunity for feedback!
It also would have been more constructive to have Nelson participate actively in producing logo/slogan. As done with the Canadian flag, stamps, Olympic logos/slogans.
For a truly inspiring logo and one of the best-known globally: see Joan Miro's of 1983 for Spanish tourism. A piece of art and still affective today!
Here presented reincarnations of Nelson's logo/slogan only connect with each other by their unimaginative heavy-handedness. Neither singly nor together are they likely to inspire an increase in tourism to Nelson and the Kootenay Lake area.
They are not who we are!
Nelson is not boring!
After the presentation to the COW - Dianna Ducs, NKLT, explains that the logo is kept simple because it will often be used together with a picture of beautiful scenery. Sometimes even without the word Tourism. The latter making even less a logo and more unattractive, non-specific location-signage.
Her explanation for/of the double-slogan is that there are many different kinds of tourists coming, even some who may not know the meaning of well-rounded squares but never mind that's okay too. The logic of this escapes.
Clearly - the NKLT is not cognizant of the purpose and power of a logo/slogan as clearly and tightly self-contained tool. Particularly relevant today - with rapid, often truncated communication in visual flash and sound-byte. Instant recognition and time is money more so than ever before.
A major opportunity here continued to be missed and at least as long as this new combo is in promotional use. Possibly years - like the previous ones. Opportunity missed in the tourism-industry equals fewer tourists!
Wednesday, 15 June 2016
I love Japanese Knotweed! Yes, I know..... regardless...!
Every morning - on my rounds at Lakeside Park - I pass a stretch of the stuff along the fence of the little woodsy hideaway - between the Seeds greenhouse and the playground - which by rights should be mine.
I love the relentless energy driving lush foliage up and across at great speed - seemingly ever taller and farther overnight.
Karen MacDonald - she of all things green - plans to deal with the issue once-and-for-all come fall.
The University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) very earnestly lets loose 65(!?!) goats on a six-by-six-meter Knotweed spread, 2 meters high. The goats munch their way across the patch within 45 minutes. Just the leaves, though. With 65 this shouldn't be a surprise - in fact, what takes them so long! What should surprise the lab-coats - with goats usually eating just about anything - why they don't eat the juicy stems. Whatever - this goat-machine clearly does not present a long-term solution to the Knotweed problem: stems and roots remain uneaten, and all will be back to normal real quick.
Another thing surprise surprise! When the UFV goats are done with the weed they get going on what grows next to it. And next to that!
Conclusion of this experiment (should be!): Goats will be goats. And Japanese Knotweed will remain Japanese Knotweed.
Which takes me to Hohhot in Inner Mongolia/China where - in the mid-90s - I teach public health issues, doctor/patient relationships and Qi Gong at the Inner Mongolia Medical College.
Hohhot is Mongolian for Blue City, because a long time ago here are many clear streams; the steppes sway with luxuriant grass and wildflowers; mountains are thickly covered with healthy trees; the sky has a deep clarity. From farther away - all has a silvery-blue shimmer.
Shaman originate here - they are the conduit between the mongke tengeri/eternal sky: as father - and fruit-bearing earth: as mother.
Sa man riding their drums.
Then nomads begin to cluster in villages; they become sedentary. And drums sound louder and more insistent! Sheep and goats overgraze pastures close-by and farther and farther away; trees are cut-down for building-material and firewood. Leading to erosion. To eventually turn silvery-blue shimmer into dry hardscrabble. The predictable usual.
Sheep and goats remain. Continuing to eat anything-nothing!
Sometimes - to Westerners - the Chinese zodiak seems to call the Year of the Goat also Year of the Ram. That comes from - except for cashmere from specific goats and mutton/yang rou - clearly from sheep - to Chinese a goat being a mountain-sheep/shan yang.
The 90s are early days in Beijing's recognition that desertification in the north is a threat to itself as China's capitol and calling-card. Dust-storms up there have been common around April/May - they are becoming more frequent a few hundred km farther south in Beijing.
So - for years now planting trees in the north to put a stop to all this has been the thing to do. Today with while not enough success.
Taking me back to Hohhot.
Every year college freshmen are for a day taken to the same village and the same hill to plant trees: this well-recorded by TV and newspapers as the good fight against rapid desertification-creep.
For the students it's all great fun and funny. Fun because it means a day of no classes and funny because of this:
The villagers - with their few goats locked-up somewhere not to get in the way - quietly watch the annual ritual unfold: students are led up the same barren hill as last year's batch. To plant the little trees they carry in their little bags. We are not talking hundreds here at great speed - and for good reasons. They also carry short sticks.
Instructions are to somehow get their trees into the ground. This is not easy because there's no topsoil: that was all blown away as dust a long time ago - and what's left is sun-baked clay, rocks, pebbles and patchy dust-pockets. So students - telegenically dirty in no time - hack, drill, stab, poke holes into the ground with their sticks, pop in trees and perfunctorily fill the holes with clay-bits, pebbles, dust to just keep treelets upright. For the cameras, possibly moms watching this on TV.
There's no water for these trees!
Students finishing first are interviewed by the media on how it feels to fight the desert - for Beijing. It feels just great!
And when all is done students and media-types get back on their buses and take off, drinking a lot of Fanta on the way back to Hohhot. Aaah! To a job well done!
Here comes the funny part. The students know that as soon as they are gone villagers bring their goats up the hill and have them eat every single tree just planted - because in this heat, without water up here and hardly any rain ever - these trees don't stand a chance.
So - planting trees is good!
This one's for Karen!
Friday, 27 May 2016
Currently the City is running a Nelson Downtown Urban Design Strategy: largely focusing on basic benches and bunting on Baker.
Connecting the superficially quite separate need to repair bits of the Parkade with that strategy is an opportunity of possible major impact on downtown.
Repairs planned to Nelson parkade
"The parkade was identified on our list of facilities as needing repairs," facilities maintenance manager Petert Sinstadt said. "The extent of these repairs, including cost and timeline, is yet to be fully determined."
Nelson Star, May 25, 2016
Clearer is that during repairs over a quarter of the now available parking-slots won't be, and reason would dictate that the work is done during off-season. What with Kevin Cormack, CAO, admitting in the same article that downtown parking is limited. Compounded by evidence that - although car sales as such are down somewhat - in a year-by-year comparison sales of SUVs and bruiser pick-ups are up 18%.
The photo here of the Parkade - with a general faded-grey actually poor-exposure overlay - doesn't anywhere near convey the depressingly gloomy-dingey neglect of the real thing.
While it clearly is here to stay for years to come - this write-up does not mention a general face-lift for the structure, which - while imposing in its naked bulk - is a visual deadzone, particularly in close proximity with the leafy Court House across the green-on-green boulevard, the Hume Hotel of 1898 next door and Touchstones - formerly City Hall and in the same grand manner as the Court House - directly across the street from the Hume.
Few people walk by here. Turning their eyes on the Parkade they will look into the dark at-your-own-risk hole of a frequently unguarded entrance and to its left deep space of more dark.
What with drivers in both directions having to focus into and out of a tricky intersection and the Parkade not demanding visual attention: probably few - definitely not City Hall ever - look at it, are even conscious of it as a unit in context.
While the City owns it - a contractual operator runs it. Meaning - until this current routine assessment of structural viability: It's not my job!
For many who drive downtown to work this is a guaranteed place to park for the work-day, week, month, year. This is the place where they begin their day downtown and end it.
In depressingly gloomy-dingey neglect.
Way to go, day!
For unaccustomed tourists this assault on their sensibilities must be even more disconcerting. First and last impression: Welcome to dinge! Come back soon to dinge!
Worse yet after dark! Can we talk about safe?
What with cars clearly not going away and street-parking becoming more and more difficult: international city-planning - for some time now - has been looking at the unavoidable fact of parking-garages needing to be embraced, thus making them creative statements. Always stunning at night. Sometimes turning them into multi-purpose structures where not only to park one's car but spend time shopping, be entertained.
Our Parkade's bland face lends itself easily to a make-over with imaginative physical facade-additions (day) and dramatic lighting (night). As in examples throughout here.
Perfectly located to become the catalyst for substantiating a new district: a grander downtown developing around Vernon/Ward.
A less shop local center - all buildings interconnected with stunning lighting: Parkade > Hume > Touchstones > City Hall > Court House > Parkade. The 2 possibly most substantial buildings in Nelson - across from each other - are visually dead after dark. One the local hub for arts and history - the other the local hub for justice (I know, I know!). The heart of the city - City Hall - doesn't beat after hours: a part-time heart. The plaza in front - supposed to become a meeting-place when? - currently also shuts down after dark. The bear sculpture..... what bear sculpture? The Hume - heritage for days! - has a glimmer of very intense - edgy in contrast - light running around its top in a narrow band. And this works! More would work more!
One wonders how many people - particularly when alone - are scared of entering the Parkade thus don't - even less inclined after dark. A clean, bright even engaging interior would take care of that: make being there welcoming, inviting. As in a fun-option for parking!
The rooftop is used once a year for the Nelson Road Kings' party after the Sep. car show. Why only then?
Special official/private events? Live rooftop music for all of downtown?
With this Design Strategy City Staff once again is running an out-of-town consultant: once again to organize a vision. What we need on Baker is to vigorously hose-down all heritage buildings. Vision that!
More exciting could be the prospect of creating a dramatic Vernon/Ward district.
A place to ooh-and aah!
Bringing locals and tourists downtown after dark!
With plans for Parkade repairs seemingly nowhere near locked-in: while they're at it - this is the time to turn the whole structure into a creative statement. Possibly get the current consultant involved. A confluence of possibilities. To eventually follow with building by above-mentioned building. In lights!
A bold vision!
Tuesday, 17 May 2016
Seeing that this is Local Government Awareness Week: all attentively following the gestation-process of the proposed local panhandling-bylaw would seem appropriate.
As in general would be attending Council Meetings; personally expressing opinions in Committees of the Whole (COW) and connecting through messages with Mayor Kozak, CAO Kevin Cormack and City Council. With copies to all!
Pro-active in all matters civic!
Following is a presentation made to the COW, 16 May, 2015 - here with added depth(-charges). Its premise: This bylaw is tailor-made for/by a special-interests group. It has nothing to do with panhandling as such but everything with cleansing Nelson of untouchables - the whole unsightly lot of them!
While it would be impossible to push through a bylaw forbidding all untouchables on "our" streets - democracy, human rights, etc. - it is doable to fashion a punitive panhandling-bylaw for a few and demonize all in/by the process.
This follows post
Loitering Over Coffee
6 May, 2016
Although this bylaw supposedly is requested by the Nelson Police Department (NPD) and Bylaw Officers - but not the Bylaw Enforcement Department as such under then Deputy Chief Burkart - at its introduction to Council no documentation whatsoever is provided to substantiate the need for such bylaw. A letter concerning it is not submitted by Chief Holland until about 6 weeks after the requested (by whom, really?) introduction - this without the Nelson Police Board's input.
Information on 24 incidents in 2015 under the Safe Streets Act - while broken down into levels of severity - does not mention any cases of panhandling or aggressive panhandling. Making talk about a needed aggressive-panhandling bylaw spurious - in view of the small number of actual panhandlers we do have to begin with.
The Nelson & District Chamber of Commerce's (NDCC) Board of Directors last summer adopts a resolution in favor of an "aggressive panhandling bylaw that would regulate behavior and also where the panhandling could take place, but not make it illegal."
The NDCC laying down the law of the streets!
A survey run by the Chamber - targeting its downtown-business members for support of such bylaw - curiously results in a "not large sample size" of 22 respondents of whom about 16 are in favor.
This survey is indirectly contradicted in the
LETTER: Address panhandling through creative means
Nelson Star, 25 Nov, 2015
Here Mari Plamondon - owner of Wait's News, corner of Baker/Ward - writes about a meeting of the Downtown Business Association, Oct. 2015: "The topic of discussion was the proposed panhandling bylaw...... I was hesitant to attend for I was concerned that my ideas may not be shared by others. I was pleasantly surprised that in a room of close to 40 people, only 3 spoke in favor of the bylaw."
Presumably (many/most) members of this association are members of the NDCC as well. So what's with this survey!?
A BC Civil Liberties Association letter to the Mayor's Office reads:
"The BC Civil Liberties Association has a number of concerns about the contents of the bylaw, its necessity and its legality. We urge you not to pass this bylaw and to invest instead in measures that will address the root causes of poverty and homelessness, including mental-health support and affordable housing."
The BCCLA clearly broadens the focus, with panhandling one symptom only. As does our Street Culture Collaborative and those members of City Council opposed to this bylaw.
My informal survey of panhandling on Baker - Mon, May 9 to Sun, May 15, all around mid-day - finds: Mon-1; Tue-2: Wed-3: Thu-2: Fri-1; Sat-1; Sun-2.
The total is 12, but as one individual is there on 6 days: the number of different panhandlers actually is only 7 in one week. None aggressive; none obstructing anyone/anything.
Neither City Staff, nor the NPD or the NDCC have ever run a formal, detailed on-the-ground survey on the actual number of active panhandlers specifically at any given time.
It is hypocritical to - on one hand - say: they have no income, so panhandling is the only option some have, while - on the other hand - prepare to cut down drastically on place/time where/when they may be allowed to panhandle. Also - bemoaning homelessness while deliberately designing the new Cottonwood Market in a way to make sleeping there impossible for those without a bed to go to! And announcing that publicly!
This proposed bylaw is not about panhandlers in attack-mode but shop-till-you-drop without visual irritants.
It is self-serving and inhumane!
Friday, 6 May 2016
Council - this week and for the 3. time over 7 months - is dealing with a panhandling bylaw-or-not - and while ordinarily one might say get on with it already: still not having arrived at a definitive conclusion is a good thing!
A good thing what with never before these Councillors - or any before them in my experience - having been as well-prepared and thoughtful while openly expressing themselves. As all did with respectful acceptance of each other's opinions within a functioning unit and those possibly effected by their decision.
After the proposed bylaw's first appearance - 1. & 2. Readings without a burp, last October - this blog points out its problematic authorship, lack of substantiating documentation and inconsistencies within the text of the bylaw's Request for Decision.
The need for it seems manufactured.
The blog also poses the never-before question: When will we start talking with instead of at/about these people the bylaw is supposed to manage? handle? contain?
The following month Council - nudged into realizing their unpreparedness for the topic thus far - decides to connect with various community groups, businesses, citizens for input before giving the proposal its 3. Reading. What with very few panhandlers on Baker at this time of the year, it is decided to put the bylaw on ice until spring of 2016.
can't make the meeting tomorrow. i as a business owner for 20 years on baker st we don't want panhandling or busking in front of my store ever, it is not what i want people to have to walk through to get into my shop . it should be contained somewhere out of everyone's way . perhaps another town ?.
The Sacred Ride
213b Baker Street
A request for public participation soon leads to forming the Street Culture Collaborative, a group to look at just that: street culture - with panhandling only one expression of a much larger pernicious problem. And the need to connect compassionately and respectfully with the vulnerable affected by pervasive socio-economic difficulties: the lack of affordable housing and support-systems across the board.
After initial exploration - constructive goals have been set by the Collaborative.
With a 4 to 3 vote the bylaw passes this week through its 3. Reading but will not be adopted for at least another month. Adoption is not a foregone conclusion - Councillors can still change their minds/votes, and they express that here.
For an exhaustive rundown of this Council Meeting go to
Panhandling bylaw passes third reading
Nelson Star, May 4, 2016
Seeing that the untouchables all look alike - with real people avoiding even just visual contact - it is easy to lump them all together: they're all drug-addicts; they're all homeless; they're all mentals; they're all panhandlers - they're all to be feared.
Yet few of them actually are panhandlers, and they certainly are not aggressive. Clearly - panhandling is not a threat to anyone (except business-interests!).
We already have the Safe Streets Act - with its consumer-focused restrictions. Hardly applicable to Smallishtown to begin with: largely duplicating the Act for only a small segment of the untouchables with this bylaw is punitive - no matter how much real people protest of course it isn't!
While it lists where panhandling is not allowed - just about everywhere - leaving little space to actually make a bit of spare-change. Forcing those who want to stay within the imposed limits to panhandle in close proximity to each other - competing for quarters!
Even though - at the same time - Mayor Kozak acknowledges that some spots are more profitable than others (will they still be permissible?), and that panhandling is the only means some of them have to get by! So what gives here!
For some reason they discourage loitering outside the store, but encourage it inside.
Which pretty much says it all. It has at last been determined that a surprisingly large number of locals have no home. Being homeless probably means they have little money. So Baker may be the outside-loiterers' social life, entertainment, news-network - their distracting buzz.
Local coffee-houses - of which we have zillions - are packed at all times with inside-loiterers for their social life, entertainment, news-network - their distracting buzz.
If the outside-loiterers had a welcoming place to go to - working on their tan in the park won't cut it - they surely would. Having the mayor approve of this bylaw - which she does - is not a welcoming gesture by City Hall. Neither is having the so-called Cottonwood Park Public Performance & Market Building designed specifically to keep the untouchable public out! Announced as such by the mayor. Although even homeless loiterers have to sleep somewhere. But some of the public are just too public!
Inviting the untouchables to hang on the grass, under the trees in front of City Hall would be a welcoming gesture, indeed! Toilet facilities and everything! How about it! No?
(Councillor) Purcell said she wants to put the bylaw off for a year to give the Street Culture Collaborative time to do its work. They have great ideas on how to address the issues from a comprehensive community-based non-punitive response.
They already have one of their points in place with the mental health first-aid training, and they are hiring a coordinator to be in place by September. We should give them a chance to have that out-reach and change the culture.
Same Star write-up
This - instead of unproductively focus on just a small segment. Also - the needlessness of this bylaw is bound to cause anger among all untouchables - thus possible confrontations with bylaw officers. While we haven't had any so far and possibly won't without the bylaw's fences.
A positive outcome of this process - regardless of the bylaw's adoption or not - is the manifesting hands-on awareness of the enormity of problems facing many among us.
And - of course - Council becoming a pro-active unit!
Although the panhandling-issue in Council this week is prominently announced in the Star - there is next to no turn-out for it in Council Chambers.
So much for inside-loiterers' concerns around panhandling!
Saturday, 30 April 2016
Nelson council endorses Cottonwood Market Concept
Bill Metcalfe, Star 23 Mar, 2016
The budget for the market could exceed $600.000 (elsewhere 750.000) through possible participation of Kalesnikoff Lumber, the Interior Lumber Manufacturers Association and Spearhead Timberworks ($150.000 to $200.000), the Regional District of Central Kootenay and Columbia Basin Trust ($200.000 to $300.000), local businesses, in-kind and cash ($50.000 to $100.000) and other grants.
With Council not questioning the absurd nothingness of all this, just as it hadn't questioned the even less earlier declaration by City Staff to Council that an unnamed local business intends to contribute significantly to building the new structures - Star, 19 Nov, 2015. This unnamed community partner even and totally inappropriately featured prominently in the official Request for Decision asking Council for an initial $12.600 to fund a market pre-plan plan.
Kevin Cormack, CAO, in the same meeting saying that the unnamed business deals in wood.
Council ending-up approving a combined 42.600 tax-dollars for the project. After asking way too few pertinent questions!
In fact - all issues raised, questions posed in this blog and my current letter in the Star since the oddly reasoned/timed demolition of the Cottonwood Market as was should have been part of Council's job - before approving (of what precisely?) now altogether $82.600.
But this post is not a focus on money as such but lumber/wood leading to trees leading to logging leading to watersheds leading to - the West Kootenay EcoSociety.
The EcoSociety (and Market-project) is run by David Reid - often critical of what's perceived as wanton wood-chucking - the tree-huggers' nightmare. Making him, them and the wood-chuckers strange bed-fellows, indeed! One would think!
Kalesnikoff Lumber (KL) is a major head-scratcher in this context: why would they want to get into this menage?
Weeell - even since before the first time the Cottonwood Market Replacement came before Council, the citizenry of Glade has been in strong opposition to KL's planned logging in their area: greatly concerned for the Glade watershed because of these projected activities.
For details google Kalesnikoff Glade.
Seeing that Glade is located in the West Kootenays and a possible loudly vocal critic to be found in the West Kootenay EcoSociety: putting a contribution their way may be a P.R. move. Not to be overlooked: Kalesnikoff is not even located in Nelson - while in the West Kootenays - so what could their interest possibly be in a Nelson farmers' market?
This may also be asked of the other wood-chuckers - named/unnamed - as possible financial contributors!
No matter what - one needs to wonder about a conflict-or-not of principles (the old Hillary thing!) between Reid's Jumbo agendas and even just considering to accept funding from a source currently with a huge environmental-image problem.
The job of the media is not to protect the powerful from embarrassment.