Identity crisis: HRM communities stand up against ‘Halifax’ re-branding

Click to play video: 'Halifax re-brand strategy still contentious for outlying communities' Halifax re-brand strategy still contentious for outlying communities
WATCH ABOVE: The controversy surrounding the Halifax logo and an attempt by the municipality to re-brand itself has resurfaced. A coalition of residents has conducted their own survey focused on people living in outlying communities. The results? Respondents don't like being re-branded "Halifax." Rebecca Lau has more – Jan 4, 2016

DARTMOUTH – New year… new debate surrounding the Halifax logo and the municipality’s attempt to re-brand itself.

Since the strategy was unveiled in 2014, the name ‘Halifax’ has slowly adorned everything from buses, to banners and community signs, much to the dismay of some residents.

“They’re calling it a re-branding but it looks like to me… preparation for renaming,” said Warren Wesson, a spokesperson for the Coalition to Preserve Community Identity in HRM.

READ MORE: New Halifax branding campaign polarizes residents

The group, which says they represent the administrators of six Facebook groups with a combined membership of 5,100 people, recently conducted their own survey of 461 residents in Dartmouth, Cole Harbour, Eastern Passage and the Eastern Shore.

According to their findings, 87 per cent are against having their community re-branded as Halifax and 76 per cent think the question should be put to a referendum.

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The group is also concerned about the price tag for the project. The initial consultation and design process cost just over $300,000, but the cost of implementing the re-brand is unknown.

“I would be embarrassed to even guess but I would imagine it’s pretty high,” said Wesson.

“I think as far as the branding goes, just stop, just stop spending the money would be the most logical approach.”

Dartmouth-area councillor Gloria McCluskey agrees, calling the re-branding strategy a “waste of money” and worse yet, an insult to the people of Dartmouth.

“For them to come over to our Burnside Park that we developed – Halifax couldn’t develop a park like that – to come over and start sticking Halifax [signs up], what a slap in the face to the people of Dartmouth who worked so hard to build what we have here,” McCluskey said.

The city says the strategy is being phased in and may take years to fully implement. Spokesperson Tiffany Chase says much of the cost will be built into maintenance costs.

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“It’s very difficult for us to put a number on the actual cost of re-branding because there is regular maintenance and replacement of things like vehicles and signage that takes place,” Chase said.

“On a go-forward basis, it will be the new brand that is put on those vehicles and signs instead of the old one.”

As for the idea of de-amalgamation, McCluskey says that wouldn’t be financially feasible and Wesson thinks it’s a topic for the future.

Wesson, who says he is a proud long-term resident of Dartmouth, says the focus for now is on maintaining each community’s identity.

“Pride in one’s community, that’s intangible,” he said. “I don’t want to get too philosophical about it, but it’s free and fulfilling and worth fighting for.”

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