As of Jan. 1, residents of two towns in southern Alberta —Turner Valley and Black Diamond — will officially call their hometown Diamond Valley.
The amalgamation of the two communities, located 67 kilometres southwest of Calgary, was approved in the spring. Council members will be sworn in on Jan. 9.
Diamond Valley Mayor Barry Crane says amalgamation has been talked about for many years, and subtle changes have already been made to unite these two communities separated by just a few kilometres.
He said the final steps are more of a formality.
"It all comes down to the fact that everyone in Diamond Valley is still the exact same person and we still have that same small town feel and culture that we all moved here for," Crane said.
Businesses weigh changing names
It's not known how many businesses with Turner Valley or Black Diamond in their name will bother changing them.
The manager of the Black Diamond Hotel says there are no plans to change its name to the Diamond Valley Hotel.
"The Black Diamond Hotel is famous all over the world, or known all over the world," said manager Lori Green. "No, we would never change."
Green isn't even sure she'll adopt the new town name.
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"I live in Turner Valley and I work in Black Diamond," she said. "No, I will never say, 'I live in Diamond Valley and I work in Diamond Valley,'" Green said.
That doesn't mean Green is opposed to amalgamation. She's just indifferent to it — and based on conversations of customers in the hotel bar and restaurant, she believes she's not alone.
"It's just been in the works for so long and it's finally happened," Green said. "I mean, I have not heard one person say, 'Oh, they shouldn't have done it,' or 'I'm glad they did it' or anything.
"I don't think anybody's just really paying that much attention to it."
The only thing they care about, she says, is the subsequent paperwork.
Driver's licences and passports
According to the mayor, the province has said that people can update their vehicle registration and driver's licence when those come up for renewal, so there's no need to rush out and change those.
With respect to passports, Crane said, residents just need to cross out their old address and write in the new one above it. According to the federal government, a change of address does not make a passport invalid.
Crane said a company has been hired to help with rebranding the new town's logos, emblem, flag and signs.
"So we're looking into all that and in the first quarter we hope to have looked at and implemented a few of those new design features," Crane said.
A New Year's Eve celebration is being held at Turner Valley's Flare 'n Derrick Community Hall to celebrate the new town with wagon rides, face painting, dancing and skating.