Vernon took one step forward with improving website and one step back with the mundane attempt to welcome visitors

Getting your message across is increasingly complex. Gone are the days of an advertisement or press release.

Now, governments, businesses and non-profit agencies have to continue with traditional forms of communications while also navigating the Internet in all of its forms — websites, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and a multitude of other social media outlets.

Some are slow to the mark while others have tackled the challenge head-on.

Case in point is the City of Vernon, which has overhauled its cumbersome and less than inspiring website.

Perhaps the most significant change is the simplified search process.

“The idea is to have two to three-click navigation to find the information you are looking for,” said Tanya Laing Gahr, communications officer and the mastermind behind the web update.

For those looking for specific details on businesses licenses or building permits, the information is easily accessible, while transparency is covered off by bid results and annual contracts issued by the city.

If you want to know how your money is being spent or what infrastructure projects are moving ahead, just click the mouse.

And while many residents cling to the perception that governments treat them like mushrooms, attempts are being made to improve conditions. Specifically, Vernon residents can subscribe to e-mail alerts on upcoming events, meetings, job postings and bid opportunities.

Lodging a complaint with city hall has also never been easier.

An online form provides residents with the opportunity to notify city hall about issues ranging from garbage collection and parks maintenance to road surfaces, unsightly properties and sidewalks.

While some will question the $100,000 or so spent on the website redesign, technical expertise doesn’t come cheap and if it means improved awareness among residents about their community, then the cost was worthwhile.

But others will rightfully question the city’s recent attempts to develop entrance signs at Vernon’s borders.

Staff’s concept included a main front with a white background, the name Vernon and the city’s logo. The backside was proposed to contain images of local scenery and activities.

Even top-level administrative endorsements didn’t guarantee a political rubber stamp.

“I find it very bland,” said Coun. Catherine Lord. “It seems odd to have art on the back of what to do in our city when they (visitors) are leaving the city.”

The lack of text on the sign, such as Welcome to Vernon, was also blasted.

“We have a logo statement, Activate life, which could be appropriate there,” said Coun. Scott Anderson.

The bottom line is the designs were uninspired and while signs can represent everything, they did little to capture the energy of the community.

Staff and their consultant have been sent back to the drawing board, and while it’s not known if the original design work was part of the estimated $55,000 project cost, it’s obvious more cash will be needed.

In the end, the City of Vernon took one step forward with improving the website as a way of communicating with its citizens, and one step back with the mundane attempt to welcome visitors.





Just Posted

Vernon Pee Wee Vipers blitz Penticton

Teigan Kelly scores three times as home side rolls to 9-4 minor hockey league victory

PHOTOS: Pumpkins big – really big – and small invade Armstrong IPE Grounds

Pumpkin launch and biggest pumpkin contest among highlights of 19th annual Harvest Pumpkin Festival

Vernon columnist seeks stories for potential book

Carole Fawcett of The Morning Star’s Boomer Talk column wants to hear from boomers and seniors

North Okanagan Knights split with Summerland

Each team record KIJHL victories on home ice in weekend home-and-home series

Vernon Vipers avenge mid-week loss to Chilliwack

Vipers roll to 4-1 BC Hockey League victory Saturday on home ice

B.C.’s rural paramedic program expands, with home support

Advanced care ambulance staff added for six communities

Shuswap ski area vies for $250,000 as top-four finalist in national contest

Help needed to accumulate votes or ‘clicks’ Friday, Oct. 18 through Sunday for trail lighting project

BC Ferries sees steady traffic of post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Ferries filling up fast, sailing waits at some terminals

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Okanagan woman, 91, votes at advance polls despite broken hip, shoulder and wrist

Angela Maynard has voted in almost every election during her lifetime

Heiltsuk Nation open first Big House in 120 years in northern B.C.

Opening means the community now has an appropriate space for spiritual and ceremonial events

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

‘My heart goes out to the mother’: B.C. dad reacts to stabbing death of Ontario boy

Carson Crimeni, who was also 14, was bullied relentlessly, his dad says

BC Ferries filling up fast with post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Monday anticipated to be busiest day of the weekend

Most Read