THREE RIVERS, P.E.I. - The websites for the town’s former communities will soon go back online.
However, it has come at a cost to both council and local businesses.
Council voted 8-4 to spend up to $1,000 to restore the former community websites of Brudenell, Georgetown, Lower Montague and Montague for a couple months until a new Three Rivers website is launched.
The earliest the sites will go back online is Aug. 1, with Coun. Gerard Holland noting that’s halfway through the tourism season.
Holland said he felt the websites should not have been taken down without a replacement or consultation since it was critical for local businesses.
“Especially in places like Georgetown, where they’re going to make their hay in the summer season,” said Holland, who agreed with Mayor Ed MacAulay’s statement that maintaining the old website for businesses was not the town’s responsibility. “I realize it’s not (our responsibility). But by pulling it down prematurely, we’re paralyzing their businesses to some degree.”
Council heard last month from residents asking for the former community websites to be restored, with some noting that many tourists would only know the area by former community names. Following last fall’s amalgamation, those domains were redirected to the Three Rivers website.
Most of the information linking and promoting local businesses and tourism activities is not there. Apart from information surrounding council, utilities and emergency services, the current
Three Rivers website promotes the Montague waterfront and the marinas in Montague and Brudenell.
Deputy Mayor Debbie Johnston said she had not heard any complaints regarding the websites and did not see a purpose in restoring them because they would have out-of-date information.
CAO Jill Walsh also said the sites were taken down because they contained old council information and she felt having them online was a “step backwards.”
She said the compromise for council would be paying around $1,000 to have the information of the former council’s scrubbed from the sites before restoring them.
Coun. Cody Jenkins questioned the harm in having historical information online, also stating that many of those previous community bylaws are still in place.
“Are we hurting Three Rivers by putting websites back up for 16 weeks where people can access information and come to our town?” asked Jenkins.
Coun. Cindy MacLean also questioned the harm. She noted the Cardigan website, which is hosted on Easternpei.com, is still online and includes old council information.
“We jumped ahead before we should have, and now we’re trying to rectify that,” said MacLean. “It has hurt a lot (of businesses)… they should never have been taken down when they were, that’s the bottom line.”
The motion wasn’t the only one throughout the night that saw some debate surrounding the town’s identity. Council also voted 10-2 in favour of approving $22,000 to start community engagement on the town’s new brand and to begin putting up signs and making new letterhead that incorporates its new logo.
Following debate on the plan, it was decided there would be no big launch for the branding but to instead roll it out gradually.
The branch was supposed to be launched on Canada Day. However, that plan was abandoned last month after many councillors said they felt the support of residents for Three Rivers wasn’t there yet.