There is no clear consensus from residents on what to do about Edmonton’s municipal flag, according to a new survey.
The survey was conducted by the city in January and received more than 1,600 responses.
In November, Mayor Don Iveson mused whether the municipal flag needed an update. He asked the city to look at public opinion towards the current flag as well as a flag designed by Ryan McCourt, which was presented by the Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations to the city in August.
The survey found 70 per cent of respondents were aware Edmonton had an official flag and the majority, 95 per cent, could properly identify it when compared to the flags of Toronto, New York City and the Republic of San Marino.
However, the findings of the survey show there is no agreement on the value of the flag, the current and proposed designs or what to do next.
Forty-one per cent of respondents believe there is no value, or didn’t know if there was a value to the city having a flag; 59 per cent believe there is value.
When asked about the current flag design, 35 per cent said they liked it, 25 per cent said they disliked it and 38 per cent were neutral.
There was a similar lack of consensus regarding the flag designed by Ryan McCourt – 37 per cent said they liked it, 35 per cent said they disliked it and 26 per cent were neutral.
The vote was also split when respondents were asked whether a new flag should be designed – 48 per cent support a redesign while 45 per cent do not. However, for those who support a redesign, there was no agreement on which method to use, with some responding there should be a public submission and others responding they did not care or know.
Coun. Scott McKeen, who sits on the Community and Public Services Committee, said the issue of reconciliation with nearby First Nations communities is integral in the discussion of the flag.
“[Edmonton] has been a gathering place for centuries. Now it’s a gathering place for people all over the world. Do you reflect that in the city flag? I would certainly be open to that,” he said.
McKeen said he does not think the survey conducted was extensive enough to get a clear cut answer on what to do.
He is in favour of more public involvement.
“I think a bit more engagement. Maybe go out to schools as well to talk the future leaders of this city. Talk to our Indigenous community, the elders, the leaders in that community so it could be a great act of inclusion,” McKeen said.
A report on the flag issue will go to the Community and Public Services Committee on Monday.