The regional tourism association’s recently-announced name change is being applauded by resort operators and politicians alike.
What was the Oceanside Tourism Association will now be known as the Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism Association after a branding process identified the need for the change.
“It’s long overdue,” said Helen Corcoran, the restaurant and conference manager at the Quality Resort Bayside. “I think the name change is very positive; I’m all for it. People don’t recognize Oceanside as being a place — we are the region of Parksville Qualicum Beach.”
Perhaps Corcoran explains the reasoning behind the name change well when she tells the story of her hockey-playing boys who skated in out-of-town rinks with the word Oceanside on the front of their jerseys.
“We were constantly asked: ‘where is Oceanside?’”
Shawna Broekhuizen, the general manager of The Beach Club, had similar praise for the name change.
“I think this is a great move for the Parksville Qualicum Beach region,” said Broekhuizen. “Stormy Lake consulting hit the nail on the head and we are looking forward to the next process.”
At a regular meeting of Qualicum Beach town council Monday night, Coun. Scott Tanner said he was “delighted that term Oceanside is gone.” Coun. Dave WIllie, who is also a member of the association’s board, agreed. “Moving to (the) Oceanside (name) was not one of our finest moments.”
Tanner also suggested organizations in the region might now look at a similar name change.
“Maybe the next step in this branding is to get that Oceanside out and get Parksville Qualicum Beach back in,” said Tanner.
The association’s executive director said this week he doesn’t expect his group’s name change will mean the same move for organizations or businesses
The association is focussed on targeting business for this region’s tourism operators from outside our region, province and country.
“(Oceanside) is always going to be part of who we are,” said Blaine Sepos. “Locals get it.”
Sepos pointed to the city of Nanaimo, which was once known as the Hub City and now is called the Harbour City, but there remains many businesses and organizations still carrying the Hub City moniker. He said that doesn’t seem to be an issue for anyone in that community.
The branding exercise for the tourism association continues, and Sepos said a workshop for businesses, organizations and citizens scheduled for the end of this month (no date set yet) is designed to help people “learn more about how the brand can work for them.”
Sepos also explained more about the reasoning behind the name change.
“When you search for Oceanside (on the internet) you don’t come up with anything Parksville Qualicum Beach-related,” he said. “There are places all across the U.S. on both coasts that are named Oceanside.”
Sepos also said the Oceanside name “wasn’t really playing up to the strengths Parksville Qualicum Beach has in people’s minds.”
“We have found Parksville Qualicum Beach really means something to people.”