By Trevor Busch
Boiled, mashed or shredded, it doesn’t matter — most people like their potatoes fresh.
But after years of being exposed to the elements, the Town of Vauxhall’s iconic mascots, Sammy and Samantha, have slowly surpassed their best before dates.
And nobody likes a rotten potato.
Vauxhall town council is currently eyeing a refurbishment of the town sign and mascots to improve aesthetics and banish their faded appearance.
“All I was thinking of is they’re our mascots, and they’re starting to look a little rough, so we might want to see about painting them,” said Mayor Margaret Plumtree, speaking at council’s June 5 regular meeting.
“And then people stop there all the time to take pictures — including just recently — and we don’t really have a great spot for them to pull over at.”
As the town doesn’t currently own or control property in the area, Plumtree went on to float the idea of a municipal-provincial partnership for improvement through an Alberta Transportation initiative, or the potential for private development.
“So I was talking with Cris (CAO Burns) and Mindy (Dunphy) if we owned any land there, and it looks like we don’t. So either working with Alberta Transportation to see if we can make something happen, or the business that does own that if there’s some development that they’re doing. I’ve already put in a request with someone who works for that company to find out for me, and if they are doing that, maybe that’s something we can work with them on, putting some signage there or making it a little rest stop area. Especially if there’s development already happening there, that way it might not cost a lot to do that.”
Coun. Linda English was terse in her assessment of the condition of the sign and mascots.
“They need to be repainted.”
As the state of the potato mascots has not been professionally assessed, Coun. Richard Phillips suggested a more fiscally-prudent course of action that might not have an overly significant impact on the town’s bottom line.
“Here’s a silly question on the painting. Is there a chance, just like a faded car, that with a nice polish they’ll come back to a brilliant white instead of repainting? Better give it a try first.”
CAO Cris Burns suggested consulting an autobody specialist might be the most effective approach to securing a cost estimate for refurbishment.
“The last time I looked at them — I took them down for a trailer for a parade float — they’re fibreglass, and it’s like on cars that use a clear coat. So definitely a body man would be able to tell us. If it’s like a car, it could cost you a couple thousand per potato.”
Following discussion, no resolution was passed by council but through general consensus, it was agreed to seek a quote for having the sign and mascots refurbished.