City searches for identity

  • Apr. 10, 2013 2:46 p.m.

The City of Red Deer has launched a campaign in hopes of finding its identity. And they are asking for the help of residents to create a narrative for the City.

The Identity Project is a public consultation process aimed at uncovering Red Deer’s authentic identity and building a community story.

“We hope to engage lots of people in the community to determine what it is that is Red Deer’s identity,” said Mayor Morris Flewwelling. “Those of us that live in Red Deer know that we have multiple facets to our identity but we’re just not entirely sure what it is that makes Red Deer tick for everybody.”

City council identified the need to focus on community identity as part of the strategic planning process. Everyday, Red Deer competes with other cities to attract residents, visitors, and businesses. Once a unique narrative has collaboratively been created, the City can promote Red Deer consistently and the shared story can boost civic pride.

Council has approved $85,000 for the Identity charter as part of the City’s strategic direction.

“When residents feel pride in their city, they feel invested in the health of their community, they look out for their neighbours, they participate in events, and they promote their city beyond its borders,” said Julia Harvie-Shemko, director of communications and strategic planning at the City. “The Red Deer we live in today is different than the one we lived in only a decade ago. Our story must reflect the story of all Red Deerians, regardless of whether they are longtime or new residents.”

The ‘identity team’ will be out at a number of events and venues over the spring and summer, talking to people about their community. If residents are unable to participate, they can weigh in online at

“It is important for residents to participate, because the community should connect with a collective and accurate story about Red Deer – it is ultimately their story,” said Harvie-Shemko.

In addition, Flewwelling said once an identity for the City is determined, it will be used as a slogan, a logo and on other promotional materials.

“How it plays out I’m not sure but it will likely have several layers. I don’t think we’ll ever get down to one thing that is Red Deer. We’re not a one-industry town. We have several things going for us. But what those things are and how it moves us forward – it’s going to be very interesting to see what we come up with.”