A proposal to refresh the City of Whitehorse's brand with a new logo and slogan is being opposed by hundreds of residents who want to keep the city's existing sternwheeler logo.

About 845 residents signed Vanessa Brault's petition to save the Gold Rush-era paddlewheel image, which could soon be replaced by a stylized horse's head.

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A horse's head could be the City of Whitehorse's new logo, if council approves a proposed new civic branding package. Council will vote on the proposal next Monday. ((CBC))

City council got its first look Monday at the proposed new logo, as well as a proposal to change the city's slogan to "Above All Expectations." The city currently has multiple slogans, including "Striving for Excellence" and "The Wilderness City."

An Ontario-based branding consultant developed the new branding package after surveying residents and hosting an open house earlier this year. Council will vote on the proposal next week.

But Brault, who presented her petition at Monday night's council committee meeting, said the city should keep the existing sternwheeler logo, citing its historical significance in Yukon.

"There is a passion for the sternwheeler, and there are a lot of people who don't even know that this is happening and would like some more involvement," Brault told council.

Brault said she was upset to learn that the city is looking at a logo that does not include a Klondike paddlewheel ship.

Councillors raise doubts

Some councillors also seemed confused about the branding proposal, with some saying they thought the new logo would be used for external marketing purposes only.

Coun. Doug Graham said it wasn't fair of the city to eliminate the sternwheeler as an option from the beginning.

"We didn't do this one right because we didn't give people the option," Graham said.

'Whatever council does, some people don't like it. Council has to make a decision.' —Mayor Bev Buckway

Coun. Ranj Pillai proposed delaying the vote while the city gathers more public input.

"If you adopt a logo as part of your brand, and there's a lack of buy-in, you're really going to lose the people who are going to carry the message," he said.

"My feeling is we've got this one particular brand that we've looked at. I'd like to defer, I'd like to see an open dialogue. I think we could use our webpage to look at the sternwheeler logo versus this new logo."

But Mayor Bev Buckway said there have been plenty of opportunities for the public to weigh in on the new logo ideas.

"Whatever council does, some people don't like it. Council has to make a decision," Buckway said.

Brault noted that more people signed her petition to keep the sternwheeler than the 681 people who took part in the city's branding survey in January.

But while Brault said she hopes council will consider her petition, not everyone she spoke to is hopeful.

"More than one person didn't want to sign the petition because they felt that council wouldn't listen anyway," she said.