Portage la Prairie, MB – The axe is about to fall on a big decision at City Hall. The City of Portage la Prairie must choose between chopping down trees or having to drop the reference to “prairie” in its name.
The Canadian Council For The Enforcement Of Accurate Place Names, a fresh initiative of the government, has informed city council they are out of compliance and must take immediate action on the problem. Failure to comply could result in stiff penalties including fines, removal from maps and being assigned a more accurate and boring place-name.
“By definition, a prairie is a flat, treeless area,” said Wendy Bottom, Vice President of Enforcement for the CCEAP. “We have a clear mandate to make sure place names are not misleading. There are far too many trees here to be considered a prairie.”
While the CCEAP has no issue with the reference to Portage, it does take a hard-line on the city masquerading as a prairie.
“We understand and acknowledge people have been burdened and carrying stuff here for decades. But it’s clear by the number of mature trees, this isn’t, and never has been a prairie,” explained Bottom. “It’s bad enough to portray yourselves as a French town, but your improper anglicized pronunciation will leave no doubt you are not sophisticated enough to be French.”
City Hall will now have to choose between deforestation and a costly name change. The best option seems to be to start cutting.
“We feel the city should start logging immediately and continue to approve developments that involve mass removal of trees. That way, they can achieve compliance quicker,” offered Bottom.
Portagers seem split on the issue. “I think we have to cut the trees down. I don’t want to be called a Portager,” said Alex Walters.
“This is ridiculous,” said Mary Hendrix. “Screw the prairie, I don’t want to lose the trees. Who the hell wants to live on a prairie?”
“We have no preference other than compliance,” said Bottom. “Place names must be accurate. We are currently conducting an investigation in Gladstone to see if the rocks are happy or not. Oakville will have to meet a quota of oak trees. High Bluff will have to maintain a minimum height on it’s trees and Edwin will have to have at least two Edwins residing there if they hope to keep their name.”
The timing of the ruling compounds growing civic headaches for City Council as they also must struggle with what to do with the separatist enclave, KoKo Platz The City of Portage la Prairie seems destined to be changed forever. Sources claim optional names being considered include Portage, Farmville, Crescent Lake City, Terrier Town, The Brown Lagoon, Spudsville, Forage la Forest and Frymakingplace.
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