Penticton to become WestJetville for a day

Penticton will change its name for Thursday, when a city delegation will meet with WestJet executives in Calgary

It won’t be the contentious issue it was in West Kelowna, but the City of Penticton is undergoing a name change.

That is, for one day only. On Thursday, Penticton will be known as WestJetville. The name change happens to coincide with the presentation a city delegation will give to WestJet executives in Calgary.

“WestJet and Penticton are a good fit, and we felt changing the name of the city would be the icing on the cake of our presentation,” said Mayor Dan Ashton. “We know a partnership between WestJet and Penticton will really take off, so we are welcoming them to the South Okanagan-Similkameen.”

WestJet announced plans for a short-haul regional airline with approximately 40 Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft to destinations not currently served by the Calgary-based airline. The plan is to launch a few regional aircraft in late 2013 and continue to grow it over five years.

This caught the attention of many communities across Canada. It is the reason some industrious Penticton residents created a Facebook group, that as of Tuesday has 1,461 members, while an online petition — and search Bring WestJet to Penticton — has 3,114 supporters. A Twitter campaign also started suggesting those who want WestJet to come to the city use the hashtag WestJetPenticton, and the city arranged a flashmob which was caught on video and put on YouTube.

The Penticton delegation will make a 30-minute presentation to WestJet executives on Thursday where it is expected they will produce results from an airport survey/study and letters of support from different levels of government throughout the South Okanagan-Similkameen. As well, there is a standing invitation to visit Penticton and the entire region. WestJet has invited 30 communities to give in-person presentations at its Calgary headquarters.