It seems unlikely that North Cowichan will get a new coat of arms before the next council takes office after municipal elections next year.
An offer of help to develop a new coat of arms from the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada was rejected for now by North Cowichan’s council at its meeting on Oct. 20.
The Royal Heraldry Society of Canada has helped jurisdictions in the creation of coats of arm as one of its mandates, and offered assistance after council decided to retire the previous one from use in August.
Coun. Christopher Justice said at the meeting that he thinks there is some merit in creating a new coat of arms to go along with North Cowichan’s new official community plan that council plans to soon have in place, as well as the new relationship with local First Nations that the municipality has developed based on the principles of reconciliation.
But he said that, due to all the ongoing work staff are currently involved in on numerous other projects and initiatives, it might not be the right time for that.
“It might be a great project to burden the next council with,” Justice said.
Council decided at its meeting on Aug. 18 to drop the coat of arms, which was adopted in 1989, because of perceptions it raised around colonialism, racism and gender inequality. In a report to council by Barb Floden, the municipality’s manager of communications and public engagement, Floden said the former coat of arms, which featured a white logger and a white pioneer woman standing next to North Cowichan’s shield, was not in harmony with the 94 calls to action outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Report, nor council’s 2019-2022 strategic plan and its call for more inclusion in the community.
At the meeting on Oct. 20, Mayor Al Siebring asked council if its members wanted staff to bring the issue back to the council table in the spring of 2023 when staff may have more time to work on it.