EDITORIAL: What’s your town made of?

When Parksville council voted last week to request city memorabilia be included for budget consideration in 2018, the “debate” was accompanied by a bit of tittering and self-deprecation.

But this is no laughing matter. Indeed, it may well present a golden economic opportunity for the right entrepreneur — not only in Parksville, but in any of our area communities.

Based on council’s deliberations, it appears the city basically has a substantial collection of pens bearing the Parksville name and/or logo, and little else. That’s a fine, even pragmatic, item to hand out to schoolkids and counterparts at national and provincial conferences. But does it really make Parksville stick in people’s minds?

Perhaps we’ve been so focused on importing tourists and their business that we’ve forgotten to export our brand, as Parksville Coun. Kirk Oates referred to it.

Consider the Nanaimo bar, for example. Or Montreal smoked meat. Boston baked beans. Delectable treats that have the added bonus of selling a community’s name every time they’re enjoyed with a meal.

It doesn’t have to be food, of course. Remember the Alamo! is a cry that resounds with U.S.-educated citizens, even if they don’t quite understand the revolution it represented. Or even know where the Alamo is located. But we digress.

The point is, our communities need something that the rest of the world can grasp, taste or hear and say, “Hey, that place is really great. You should check it out.”

Yes, yes, we have the spacious and functional Community Park in Parksville, and the broad, sandy beaches of both Qualicum Beach and Parksville. But while visitors may leave with a bit of sand stuck in their bathing suits, that’s not something they’re carrying home to show off to their neighbours.

The most recognizable and widespread item honouring a local landmark may well be the distinctive, diamond-shaped sticker of Goats on the Roof in Coombs. Despite not bearing a word, it is recognized internationally and, due to its design concept, those who don’t know are likely to ask the owner about it, providing the perfect opening for a gushing — and free — sales pitch for the Coombs Country Market.

So how about it, all you creators? Qualicum Beach Wrinkle Cream? The Parksville Pickleball Paddle? Maybe a bumper sticker: To err is human; to Errington is divine. Or Whiskey Creek — well, you know.

Get your thinking caps on, folks. There’s gold in them thar hills. Or at least, goat droppings on that thar roof.

— Parksville Qualicum Beach News