Not everyone on Vernon council likes the results of a survey that asked people to define what makes Vernon Vernon.
William Bakker from Destination Think says they polled 350 residents of the area using Facebook, to determine the city’s Place DNA, and one finding was that Vernon is slow-paced, a bit sleepy, but by design, with people saying we don’t want to be Kelowna, or a big fast city.
Councillor Brian Quiring felt the survey missed the mark, saying he doesn’t want the city to get the reputation of being “Sleepy Hollow.”
Pictured: William Bakker speaks to Vernon council
“I’d like to think of us as kind of a forward moving community with real recreational amenities, and when I hear words like quaint and slow-paced, it might make it difficult for us to attract the young talent we need,” Quiring told CJIB News.
Quiring runs an architecture business that he says has trouble getting young workers to come to Vernon.
Mayor Akbal Mund disagreed that Vernon isn’t attracting younger people.
He says based on the recent winners of the Greater Vernon Chamber awards, he says there are young people coming here and they are coming to work and to enjoy the lifestyle, the lakes and recreation.
“We don’t want to sell it as Sleepy Hollow, but we want to attract unique entrepreneurs,” said Mund.
Councillor Juliette Cunningham agreed with some of Quiring’s comments.
“It’s hard to be a growing city and maintain small town charm. I think we have one of the best downtowns in BC,” said Cunningham, who added council is trying to incorporate bigger city ideas into new housing with less need for vehicles and making them more affordable.
Councillor Catherine Lord liked that the study pointed out Vernon’s historical identity.
“That is a big thing we can sell. We are at the cusp of the next stage of development, we are among the fastest growing cities (in BC), and people are coming here (most of those are retirees).
Councillor Scott Anderson felt the survey sample size and using Facebook was not necessarily representative, and perhaps skewed the results.
But he did find some merit from it.
“From a tourism perspective it’s right, but from an economic development standpoint, it’s wrong, ” said Anderson.
City Tourism manager Ange Chew told council, the study was a starting point, and gives them a reality check when they consider future marketing campaigns.