A final report into possibly changing the City of Powell River’s name has been released.
The Joint Working Group Report makes 11 recommendations mostly focused on further conversation and public engagement.
It makes no decisions on the name other than suggesting assent voting or a referendum is a future option for city council – but not right now.
Joint Working Group member Cindy Elliott says a final decision was never the original intent of this process, which had been a contentious issue for the group.
“When we heard from the community and realized there are so many varied opinions and that this conversation is going to take longer. The recommendation was resoundingly to take more time and maybe focus on consensus building within the community so we could land somewhere that was well supported,” Elliott said in an interview with Vista Radio.
The process started last year after the Tla’amin Nation requested a review because it found the city’s name hurtful and offensive based on the history of its namesake.
Also in the recommendations is for Powell River to hire more city staff to carry out the directives in the report and foster intergovernmental relations.
“How the city works on reconciliation isn’t well communicated or linked to the efforts being made because of the lack of dedicated staff,” Elliott said.
Any decision would fall to city council, which Elliott says could include positions supported by federal or provincial funding or adding the work to existing staff.
Elliott doesn’t think any decisions will be made based on what’s in the report before the October election but it could be used by council candidates “to communicate with citizens around what they think the way to go forward is” and it could result in “good decision making after the election.”
She also wants to the community to know “we’re all trying to get to the same place” which is being “good neighbours and good relations with the people who live here.”
You can read the final report here. (opens 28MB PDF)