'They're trying to eradicate the histories': Georgetown, Montague websites taken down
Mayor of new community of Three Rivers admits change was too fast and sites will return, for now
Some tourist operators and businesses in eastern P.E.I. are frustrated with the disappearance of their towns' websites. Georgetown's website — along with Montague's — now redirect viewers to a temporary website for the amalgamated town of Three Rivers.
The communities of Georgetown, Montague, Cardigan and surrounding areas were amalgamated into the town of Three Rivers in September 2018.
How do you rebrand a 300-year-old community?— Stacy Toms
Many people in Georgetown, like Maroon Pig Bakery owner Stacy Toms, resisted the idea from the start. Toms said businesses including hers had invested in building the Georgetown brand for years, capitalizing on its history as a fishing and ship-building town.
"How do you rebrand a 300-year-old community?" she asked. "It's detrimental to everybody, and the economic impact will be insane."
'Too much for us'
Toms had planned to use Georgetown's website in her advertising this season, until she discovered the website had been taken down.
"If tourists are looking for accommodation, it's on the website. If you're looking for businesses that are open and what's around, that's all there. And none of it's there now," said Toms.
"They're trying to eradicate the histories of our town," Toms said.
The websites of Georgetown and Montague offered community information, links to businesses and hours of operation and information about events. The Three Rivers site provides mostly administrative information.
"That may have been a premature decision at the time," said Three Rivers Mayor Ed MacAulay. "But I think what we had hoped was that we'd have the new website operational by the time that we were ready for the tourist season, but that just hasn't happened. It's been too much for us at this time."
MacAulay said the old websites will go back online, at least for the time being.
'We realize that people are not there'
The mayor said the transition for the new town council has been a challenge, with much to do in the months since the new municipality was created. The new town still has no signage or permanent town hall.
Three Rivers paid consultants $10,000 to help with rebranding the town, creating letterhead, a logo and a new permanent website. The rebranding had been set to begin rolling out Canada Day but MacAulay said the timing wasn't right.
"Right now, people are not there, and we realize that people are not there," said MacAulay.
MacAulay said the rebranding launch will be delayed several months and may happen in the fall.
He said in the meantime, the new council will work on communications strategies and seek more input from residents.