Editor wrong on bridge promotion

On behalf of the City of Trail, I am writing to express our great disappointment in Guy Bertrand’s opinion article ‘City needs to step up sales pitch for new bridge’ published on Thursday, July 10 in the Trail Times.

As the City’s Communication Coordinator, I can attest the City has put great efforts and resources into developing communication and information pieces in order to educate the public about the proposed pedestrian bridge. In fact, it has been one of our main focuses since the City officially announced a referendum would be held on this matter.  With a bit of homework and few phone calls to his fellow colleagues at the Trail Times, the editor would have known about the City’s ‘Bridge Referendum Communication & Advertising Plan’ that was compiled on May 15, 2014. The plan was a topic of discussion at the Governance and Operations Meeting, held on May 26, 2014, and was distributed to all local media, including the Trail Times reporters.

The plan, compiled to educate and inform Trail’s citizens on the proposed project and the upcoming public referendum, includes the following points: the project background (why the City would like to work in conjunction with the RDKB on the project); facts to help understand the two components of the project (the RDKB’s pipeline and the City’s pedestrian walkway and other utility lines); cost comparisons of other researched options (including professional engineering information as to why the Old Bridge cannot be repaired); why Trail’s citizens chose not to incur the cost of a new vehicular bridge, and complete referendum details for Trail’s electors. Additionally, the following key messages were developed to promote the benefits and advantages of the proposed pedestrian bridge: increase walkability and cycling routes; enhance the overall look of our City; attract visitors with a beautiful signature structure; be one of the longest suspension bridges in North America; feature LED lighting; accommodate a 4-Track (Quad) Emergency Vehicle if necessary; result in no property tax increase for the City’s component of the project.

As indicated in the plan, The City of Trail’s voting public consists of various demographic groups who access information differently.  Therefore, it is important to use several communication and media platforms to relay the details.  Full-colour display ads in the Trail Times, on-air advertising with the local radio stations, information boards and take-away materials (at City Hall and at the Trail Market on the Esplanade every second Friday), a social media and web campaign and, most importantly, a comprehensive four-page newsletter highlighting all of the aforementioned details have all been arranged to help promote the project and to provide referendum specifics.

Nearly 5,000 households and businesses should have received the informational newsletter the week of July 8 via Canada Post. Although full-colour and somewhat glossy, this newsletter should fit nicely on residents’ refrigerator doors to act as a daily reminder to ‘Help shape Trail’s Future – Vote on August 23rd, 2014.’

For the web savvy folks, this newsletter is also available online at trail.ca or on the City’s Facebook or Twitter page, which according to our statistics, get a daily post outreach of nearly 3,000 views. The newsletter has already sparked conversation amongst our residents, prompted numerous calls to City Hall and has provided staff and Council with marketing and advertising collateral to help reach their target markets.

Perhaps the Trail Times’ catch phrase should be “If you do your research, you will uncover the facts.”

Andrea Jolly

Communications & Events Coordinator,

City of Trail

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