Regional District of Nanaimo sign. Lauren Collins photo                                Regional District of Nanaimo sign. Lauren Collins photo

Regional District of Nanaimo sign. Lauren Collins photo Regional District of Nanaimo sign. Lauren Collins photo

Qualicum Beach mayor hopes to rebrand Regional District of Nanaimo

Make the district more inclusive of First Nations culture, history

As the Regional District of Nanaimo gets ready to celebrate its 50th anniversary, Qualicum Beach Mayor Teunis Westbroek suggested changing the branding of the district to involve local First Nations culture and history.

In Tuesday’s (March 28) agenda, it said “the 50th anniversary of the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) provides an opportunity to revitalize and reinforce the RDN brand.”

Westbroek put forward the motion asking that when the regional district is looking at branding, it consider the local First Nations and how they may involve their culture and history. The motion passed with the entire board voting in favour.

“When I read about this and about branding, and in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission there were opportunities to be encouraged to rename certain areas in our jurisdiction,” Westbroek said.

In January, Westbroek brought forward to the board the idea of changing the regional district’s name to reflect the local region rather than just Nanaimo.

While the name change wasn’t approved by council, at Tuesday’s meeting Westbroek put forward a motion to rebrand the regional district leading up to its 50th anniversary.

Westbroek said he understands the reluctance of going ahead with a name change due to costs, but he said he was looking at it as more of a rebranding.

“I think after the 50th anniversary and 150th of Canada, if we can change this brand of the regional district — not change the name, that’s by law and it’s never going to change — but if we could do something,” Westbroek said. “We say every meeting that we are here on the traditional territories of the First Nations and that’s almost like, ‘Hey, how are you, but no one really listens to what you’re going to say.’”

Westbroek said it would be an opportunity to include the traditional territories and names of people that the board is working with and want to build a relationship with.

Westbroek told The NEWS that the first step would be to have a good consultative process with the First Nations chiefs.

He said the RDN has had a roundtable with the local chiefs and directors before and found the chiefs were “quite keen to work with us.”

Before making any of his own suggestions for rebranding, Westbroek said he would ask the chiefs what they think the RDN should do in terms of rebranding.

“It’s more meaningful for our area, for our First Nations,” Westbroek said. “I think we could do us proud.”