UPDATE: Victoria council waffles on naming rights policy

Possibilities varied, but realistically, few Victoria structures would likely attract sponsorship

Would the name of the City of Victoria be on the table if the price was right?

Coun. Ben Isitt raised the question Thursday to push the boundaries during a debate about a proposed naming-rights policy.

“Would a tree be eligible as a city asset?” he pushed further. “Would the leaves on a tree be eligible?”

Mayor Dean Fortin, however, lost patience with the trajectory.

“I believe you’re being extremely rhetorical,” Fortin cut in.

Moving forward with the draft policy won a majority vote during Thursday’s governance and priorities meeting.

But by Friday, council’s commitment to the idea was doubtful. On that day, council approved the city’s top 16 priorities to guide their three-year term. Naming rights didn’t make the cut.

What that means for the future of the naming-rights policy is yet to be seen.

“That will be a discussion that’s upcoming,” said Coun. Shellie Gudgeon. “We have gone through a democratic exercise in identifying our priorities. To start shifting our minds at this point … it’s interesting.”

If council votes to pursue a naming-rights policy, it will proceed to a full-public consultation before being adopted.

The goal of the consultation would be to gauge support of this revenue-generating idea and help narrow down which city assets should be on the market for naming, if any.

The range of possibilities for corporate naming are wide: fire halls, municipal buildings, community centres.

Realistically, however, the assets likely to attract sponsorship are fewer. On Thursday, city staff identified the conference centre, community centres, the Crystal Pool and “bridges.”

Coun. Pam Madoff wondered how much a corporate naming right is worth to the city. “How are those decisions going to be made?” she asked.

As an example, Madoff pointed to the University of British Columbia, where a corporation must pay one-third of the cost of a building to put its name on it.

Coun. Lisa Helps said that’s the appropriate scale to look at.

“If someone wanted to name the Johnson Street Bridge, they’d have to pay a minimum of $31 million,” she said. “That’s an interesting proposition. I’m very interested in that.”

If it happens, public consultation would likely be held in conjunction with the city’s public budget meetings, scheduled for the fall.

Linking the two discussions would have the advantage of putting potential naming-rights revenue in context of the city’s greater financial picture, said Coun. Marianne Alto, who drafted the first naming-rights policy for discussion at council.

rholmen@vicnews.com

Just Posted

West Shore residents hold forum to voice frustration with Goldstream Park homeless camp

Some 200 residents fill local pub pointing fingers, claiming crime on the rise, safety at risk

Saanich ‘inside cat’ comes home two weeks later, two pounds lighter

The only one not excited about the return of Arthur, is the… Continue reading

City stamps rezoning approval for Merridale Cidery expansion in Victoria

Owner expects doors open by fall 2019 in Dockside Green neighbourhood

North Island Tour De Rock rider Benjamin Leah leads team to Port Hardy

“You don’t have issues and problems when you look at these kids and how much they’re going through.”

Two to hospital after University of Victoria sailing mishap

Wind gusts capsize boat of recreational club sailors

Environment Canada confirms Ottawa area hit by two tornadoes Friday

At one point more than 200,000 hydro customers were blacked out

Whitecaps see playoff dreams fade after 2-1 loss to FC Dallas

Goal in 87th minute seals Vancouver’s fate

5 things to do this weekend in and around Greater Victoria

Sooke Apple Fest returns, Saanich lights up with lantern festival and anarchists unite for downtown book fair

B.C. students send books to displaced students of Hornby Island school fire

Maple Ridge elementary school teacher says students learned about acts of kindness

Trump drains oxygen from Trudeau foreign policy with PM, Freeland bound for UN

A lot has changed since the Liberals came to power in Canada in 2015

Emergency crews investigate small sulphuric acid spill in Kootenays

IRM states a small volume of less than one cup and three dime-sized drips were leaked from carrier

Victoria resident barred from trading securities for fraud

Larry Keith Davis used money from an investor to pay personal bills

Most Read