Ashburton District Council unanimously in favour of dumping slogan

5:32 pm on 3 May 2021

Ashburton District Council has unanimously backed a move to ditch the district's derided slogan.

Ashburton Railway Station

Photo: 123rf

The majority of councillors are supporting a move to formalise a possible change in chambers with a few wanting to open it up to the public if necessary.

"Ashburton: Whatever it Takes" has occasionally been the subject of ridicule in recent times, appearing on a handful of lists of one of the worst town slogans in the country.

It seems the district's community leaders unanimously agree that the district's catchphrase for more than a decade could do with some rejuvenation.

The views of the eight elected members were canvassed with no one opposing a move for a change.

Eastern Ward councillor Lynette Lovett, who initially could not recall what the slogan was, said the district could do better in promoting itself.

"We need people to stop and eat in Ashburton so we need something catchy," she said.

"I think it's timely."

Multiple projects in the Mid Canterbury town, including a $15 million CBD revitalisation and a new Library and Civic Centre development, was a common consideration among members who believed the town branding needed a rethink.

"We've had [Whatever it Takes] for a while now," Eastern Ward councillor Stuart Wilson said.

"Time to refresh it because we're refreshing the town itself."

Suggestions were put forward by residents in response to a Guardian Facebook post last month.

"No matter what we decide, you get every opinion under the sun," Wilson said.

"Someone will say it's wrong and someone will say it's right."

Ashburton District Mayor Neil Brown said in response that a change to the underutilised slogan was worthy of consideration, and proposed further collaboration on the matter with regional tourism consultants.

Ashburton Ward councillors Leen Braam and John Falloon both said public response would be essential if a change was to be mooted.

"It would be nice to get some thoughts from the public and get some things come back," Falloon said.

"I think it needs to be upgraded or made more modern."

Ashburton Ward councillor Carolyn Cameron said improvements generally needed to be made around the town branding.

"You need to have 'Welcome to Ashburton' signs at the beginning and end of the town," she said.

"I think the whole brand of Ashburton needs to be promoted."

Western Ward councillor Rodger Letham also favoured a change to the slogan but was more "ambivalent" on the matter.

"Do we need one? If the consensus is that we do need one then it should be a discussion at council," he said.

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