A new look will be waving from the skies above the city hall courtyard.
Although not everyone saluted the new creation, a majority of city council voted in approval May 10 of a new design for the Salmon Arm flag.
City staff provided five samples of potential designs, all variations on a theme, with a recommendation to choose the one with the white background. The printing on the flag included the Salmon Arm wordmark – ‘Salmon’ in orange and ‘Arm’ in teal, with ‘Small city, big ideas’ printed in smaller teal letters below.
Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works, outlined how in 2017, 12 local organizations, including the City of Salmon Arm, came together to work on a community brand and marketing strategy.
His report stated “with the common goal of attracting new talent and investment, the team worked with a consultant to draw out Salmon Arm’s competitive advantages and our unique and authentic story.”
In October 2018, council voted unanimously in support of the ‘Small city, big ideas’ brand, and staff were told to gradually change over to the new branding.
The flag’s turn has arrived.
The Salmon Arm Economic Development Society’s samples included three versions similar to the white one recommended: an ‘Ida blue’, an orange, and a light blue ‘Lakeshore’ background, with the same words displayed in the foreground. A fifth sample had an orange background with the wording placement switched.
Staff noted bright colours usually fade more quickly, so the white background was the option of choice.
The outgoing Salmon Arm flag also featured a white background, but the words ‘Salmon Arm’ were written rather than printed, and a blue oval above the name displayed a stylized lake and mountain, with sunshine peeking from behind the mountain.
Couns. Sylvia Lindgren and Tim Lavery were opposed to the new design.
“I wanted a flag that said something about what a great place it was for people and families and community and recreation, and I think we’re getting a flag that says, ‘open for business,’” Lindgren remarked.
Lavery said he’s been a full supporter of the branding process, with a substantial portion of his clothing bearing the branding. But he thinks the flag message should be broader.
“To my mind, broader ideas represent Indigenous heritage, Shuswap Lake, Mount Ida, and the reasons we’re all here.”
He said he sees the new design as a well-intentioned corporate logo that doesn’t have a place on the city flag.
Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond noted the city’s outgoing flag is also the brand-mark on a white background. She said she sees the change as updating the brand-mark.
“It is a conversation piece, it is an invitation, it is not colonial, it is not territorial, it is about ideas and acceptance and inclusion and I will very much support this.”
Coun. Kevin Flynn said he is frustrated by comments about not enough public input and described the new flag as a community branding, not a corporate one.
“I think to ignore the research, the significant public input, the professionals coming up with the branding and the logo, it doesn’t make sense.”
Mayor Alan Harrison said flags have changed over the years and the new one is similar in style to those of other smaller communities.
He added: “Flags are kind of personal things. It’s not surprising we have differences of thoughts…”