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OBCDC Brochure - reliable or regretful promotion of Osoyoos?

September 19, 2000 - To the Editor, The Times

OBCDC Brochure - reliable or regretful promotion of Osoyoos?

Councilor David West of Osoyoos has been publicly rebuked by some of his Town Council and by the Board of the Osoyoos Business and Community Development Center (OBCDC) for his criticism of a recently published brochure.

The OBCDC, funded by grants from Forest Renewal BC, Human Resource Development Canada and Industry Canada, has produced a Brochure with the purpose of promoting Osoyoos and local investment.

Councilor West’s concern is that the Brochure may not meet ethical or legal standards for promotion and advertising and therefore has the potential to be negative publicity for Osoyoos. Mr. West therefore made a motion to Council that the Brochure be recalled and reviewed. His motion was voted down, and subsequently the Town endorsed the brochure. Council did decided, that the Town would discuss the contents of any future Brochure with OBCDC - supposedly before printing. That may raise the question, why is such a policy not already in place?

It is unclear whether the OBCDC brochure is good or legal promotion of the Town of Osoyoos and if it is good use of taxes and public resources. What is completely clear is that misleading and pretentious promotion and advertising is never good promotion and comes with the risk of fines, lawsuits, and a negative backlash. That seems to be Mr. West’s concern - that the Brochures could expose the Town and its taxpayers to liability and bad publicity. Because other municipalities promotion may be misleading and pretentious that is no excuse for Osoyoos to do the same.

Whether Mr. West is right or wrong in his concerns, or whatever Mr. West’s other reasons may be. Would it not have been in the community’s best interests if OBCDC in cooperation with the Town analyzed the Brochure’s promotional and legal standard?

The concern is how potential investors elsewhere in the world view Osoyoos. Can the community be sure the promotion offers an attractive place to invest, do business, and live? Will this image hold up under the scrutiny of visitors, tourists and potential investors, or will they feel deceived and cheated? Is the promotion built on solid analysis and cohesive long term planning or is it an artist’s conception that will never materialize? Has the promotion exposed the community to legal or other risks?

Presumably OBCDC pass a test for a prudent government intervention and use of tax in our mixed economy. Meaning that OBCDC provides such service, the private sector and business fail to provide that stimulate private investment rather than stimulate transfer of tax. It is by meeting these criteria and accountability to society OBCDC should create its credit, not by rebuke and tax fueled power.

Instead, of reacting defensively, OBCDC should welcome analysis and debate and in this case, to ensure that, the brochure is not a legal time bomb for the community, and that contradicts its promotional purpose. Accusing Mr. West of being vindictive towards OBCDC, for reasons that from the outside seem to be out of context and irrelevant, only clouds the issues and minimizes genuine concern for the community and our tax dollars.

It is doubtful that promotes confidence and stimulates investment in Osoyoos.

The community should expect both the Town hall and OBCDC to conduct themselves in a manner that protects and safeguards our community as well as promoting it.


September 19, 2000