City Adopts New Advertising And Naming Rights Policy

If you want your name on a city park, have the money for a 10 year commitment basis and Council approves it the opportunity is now available.

At this past Monday evening’s Executive Committee meeting the committee approved the measure as part of an overall policy to sell advertising and naming rights at various City-owned facilities and parks as a means to raise funds.

Photo By Roxanne Ashe - Virtual Interiors Photography

Photo By Roxanne Ashe - Virtual Interiors Photography

Derek Blais manager of Parks and Recreation said the matter was before Executive Committee aa part of the motion to go out and explore and create a policy and then return to Council to “view and provide feedback on the policy prior to the proposal being implemented.

As part of the proposal there would be three commitments where advertsing and naming rights could be purchased.

For indoor facilities - Yara Centre, Phyllis Dewar Outdoor Pool and Indoor Pool - advertising could be purchased based upon a one year commitment.

For facilities where indoor features were not previously named - such as meeting rooms, dressing rooms and multi-purpose rooms - naming rights could be purchased based upon a minimum five year commitment.

By far the most controversial part fo the new policy was allowing the sale of naming rights to outdoor parks and playgrounds which are currently named after geographical locations with no historical significance. A minimum 10 year commitment was required to acquire these naming rights.

The policy also defined sponsorships being available to various recreational opportunties such as free public swims.

“(It is) a great opportunity to work with local businesses and service clubs to provide successful and meaningful recreation programs to our community,” Blais said.

In discussion Councillor Scott McMann asked why the policy was not put out for a Request For Proposal (RFP) instead of being awarded to EMJ Marketing. An RFP is where businesses are requested to not only provide bids but also how a certain program will operate.

“We have had a positive relationship at the Yara Centre with EMJ Marketing and they have done a pretty good job with us there and we figured with the great work done there we owe it to them,” Blais replied, going on to state there was a carry-over with the EMJ Marketing contract from the Downtown Facility and Field House contract until September 30th.

Councillor Brian Swanson said he agreed withthe concerns raised by Councillor McMann the policy should have gone out as an RFP.

“I have to agree with the concerns raised earlier about doing an RFP on this because…just because,” Councillor Swanson said.

Councillor Swanon then moved a motion to remove parks and playgrounds from the new policy.

“I don’t think our parks and playgrounds should be for sale for advertising rights. I stated that before I am not in favour of it…I am not in favour of selling the names of our parks and playgrounds for advertising purposes.”

Councillor Heather Eby spoke about the park near her home and how she and her family always called the nearby park by its unsponsored name - Hideaway Park - and it was difficult to see it called something else such as MacDonald’s PArk.

“I am just torn about it,” Councillor Eby stated.

City manager asked Executive Committee to at least look at it because the partnerships potentially developed might lead to businesses in adopting a park and helping to replace the dilapidated signage in some parks.

Puffalt asked the policy be adopted so the City could explore parks and playgrounds sponsorships so the avenue could be explored and “at least we tried.”

Councillor Chris Warren said he opposed the amendment because it was against what the City was trying to do.

“Its not just about the advertising it is more about building partnerships and collaborating with our community so I would not be in favour of this (motion). I would be in favour of the original motion,” Councillor Warren stated.

The motion was defeated to remove parks and playground naming rights from the proposed policy.

Councillor Swanson then proposed amending the original motion for Council to receive an annual report. The amendment was approved.

The amended motion to approve the new advertising, naming rights and sponships policy was then approved in a 6 - 1 vote with Councillor Swanson opposed.

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