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

Sooke council approves new funding for chamber of commerce

A $16,000 service agreement to be created

Victoria traffic stop yields drugs, case full of weapons

Police seize firearms, swords and flares

Suspect taken into custody after allegedly attempting to steal a dinghy in Sidney

The incident happened Wednesday morning near Beacon Wharf

Victoria Police arrest man wanted for fraud offences

Michael Friesen arrested on Johnson Street

Colwood art centre shuts its doors indefinitely

Board members look for new location when feasible, continue online

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

West Coast Trail to remain closed for now

Federal government won’t open world-famous trek until its First Nations are ready for visitors

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Most Read