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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Residents welcomed to The Summit in Victoria’s Quadra Village

Modern 320-bed facility designed for people with complex care needs including dementia

Saanich bans municipal rodenticide use after owl deaths

District unanimously approves ban and community education

Victoria Rotarians gift $10,000 for special mattresses at Broadmead Care

Residents will enjoy new pressure release mattresses at Broadmead Veterans Memorial Lodge

Saanich warns of ongoing night work at the Shelbourne, McKenzie intersection

Construction expected to take three weeks to complete

West Shore RCMP responds after reports of man masturbating on bus

52-year-old man charged with committing an indecent act in a public place

Sources say Canada, U.S. likely to extend mutual travel ban into late August

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hinted at the possibility after a phone call with U.S. President

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Beloved Island woman dies at 106

Dorothy Adair adored by the many people she met in Chemainus in two short years

Man arrested for allegedly pushing unsuspecting seniors, jumping on cars at Parksville mall

Cops arrest man after ‘aggressive incident’ at Wembley Mall in Parksville

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

Port Alberni will have a salmon derby on Labour Day after all

Alberni Valley Tyee Club reveals ‘socially distanced’ derby only for Labour Day 2020

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Most Read