EDMONTON — Online polling to choose a new Alberta licence plate has closed and the most realistic of three designs has come out on top.
Kathleen Range of Service Alberta says the photo-like image of a field and mountains got almost 50 per cent approval.
Not far behind at more than 45 per cent was a blue-and-yellow design with mountains and wheat.
A more stylized version finished a distant third at six per cent.
Range says 160,577 votes were cast.
She says there could still be changes to the design before the plates are released next spring.
The new plate options caused a ruckus when the government unveiled them in July. Critics, including local designers, were angry that they were all created by U.S. conglomerate 3M.
And the Opposition Wildrose party pointed out that the province’s longtime slogan “Wild Rose Country” was replaced by the web address alberta.ca. The party said it was a politically motivated slight by the governing Progressive Conservatives.
Service Alberta Minister Doug Griffiths said that wasn’t true.
Even the three candidates vying to become the next PC leader and premier found themselves in the great plate debate.
Former federal cabinet minister Jim Prentice said it was clear the plates had “struck a nerve with Albertans” and he wanted to hear more about what people had to say.
Candidates Thomas Lukaszuk and Ric McIver, both former provincial cabinet ministers, said they didn’t have an issue with the wild rose slogan.
Lukaszuk said he would like to see more artistic input from Albertans and McIver suggested that dropping the slogan was petty.