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Locals give thumbs down to licence plate redesign

Jul 15, 2014 11:45 am | Janice Huser, with files from Sam Macdonald

Albertans have a choice for a revamped licence plate design, after the province released three options and a website to allow for people to vote for the licence plate they prefer.

Online voting began on July 8 and will run until Aug. 19. The design with the most votes will be selected as the new licence plate, according to a provincial press release.

Within hours of the designs being released, Albertans took to social media to express their displeasure at the available options, and the overall idea of redesigning the licence plate.

“If it ain't broke, don't fix it. They want us to vote on a design. Why didn't we get to vote on whether or not we even wanted a new design?” questioned area resident Ellie Peters on the Journal’s Facebook page last week, adding she felt the redesign was a waste of government money.

According to the province, the current licence plate is 30 years old “and lacks features to help make our roads and communities safer. This new plate will make it easier for police to spot vehicles that are unregistered, uninsured, or stolen,” said Doug Griffiths, the minister of Service Alberta, in a government press release.

Area resident Jenna Huffman isn’t completely against the idea of seeing a redesign to Alberta licence plates.

“Every other province has cool plates. Do I ever feel plate envy? No. Do I want a new Alberta plate? Depends on the cost, I guess,” said Huffman.

The redesign will result in a five-dollar increase for annual vehicle registrations. The additional funds will go toward the costs of production and implementation of the new plates, says the release.

“It's just waste of money and useless. There is nothing wrong with the current plates, if they need to be more reflective, then put a reflective coating on the existing design. A new designed plate will not make roads and communities safer,” said area resident Petra Aylesworth, also via the Journal’s Facebook page.

In response to the concerns about the increased costs, the province noted that Alberta’s vehicle registration fees will remain about 11 per cent lower than the national average.

None of the three new options released last week offered Albertans the chance to keep the slogan “Wild Rose Country,” on the licence plate, which quickly turned into a topic on social media sites.

“Changing the slogan . . . is just ridiculous. Alberta is the wild rose province, changing it to alberta.ca is a cheap sell-out and lacks character,” said Aylesworth.

Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills Wildrose MLA Shayne Saskiw says he supports the new safety feature on the redesigned licence plates, but says changing the complete design of the plate is “ludicrous” and should not be a priority for the provincial government.

“It’s unfortunate that thousands of dollars are being wasted on this. It’s a complete waste of time and energy and money from everyone involved.”

On Thursday, the Wildrose launched its own online poll to gauge public opinion on the licence plate slogan, and encouraged the minister to do the same. The Wildrose poll gives voters five options to choose from, including Alberta.ca, Strong and Free, Wild Rose Country, other, and no slogan.

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