Island Savings

Sponsorship plan draws fire

Naming rights or other forms of corporate sponsorship attached to North Cowichan’s public buildings took a couple of hard knocks last week.

The idea of selling naming rights or other forms of corporate sponsorship attached to  North Cowichan’s public buildings and spaces took a couple of hard knocks last week.

On Aug. 10 Island Savings Credit Union issued a public plea asking people opposed to the chopping down of a maple tree in the Island Savings Centre parking lot not to blame the credit union.

“Since the decision was made by the Island Savings Centre Commission to remove the large maple tree on James Street, some opponents have been voicing their concerns to staff at Island Savings branches,” said John Elzinga, general manager of community services at Island Savings.

“The decision about the future of the maple tree was made by the Island Savings Centre Commission, which is made up of elected officials representing North Cowichan, Duncan and the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD), with no input from the Island Savings division of First West Credit Union,” he said.

Elzinga made it clear that the financial institution has no say over what happens in the contentious issue of whether or not to remove what many consider to be an iconic maple tree as part of a redesign of the Island Centre’s parking lot.

“Island Savings has delivered significant financial support to the community through their sponsorship of the community centre,” Elzinga said. “They have done so without influence over program, service or capital project decisions.”

The credit union pays $100,000 per year over a 10 year contract to have its name on the Island Savings Centre.

That kind of revenue potential is what has the Municipality of North Cowichan considering a corporate sponsorship program of its own for public buildings and spaces.

At its July 20 meeting Brent Barootes, president of the Partnership Group – Sponsorship Specialities, told council that  North Cowichan might have the potential to raise $1 million per year getting involved in the $1.6 billion per year Canadian corporate sponsorship industry.

In June North Cowichan staff provided a list of 15 facilities that could generate sponsorship revenues, including: the Crofton Pool, Fuller Lake Arena, the Cowichan Sportsplex and the Sports Hall of Fame.

But an Aug. 11 open letter from University of Victoria Geography Prof. Reuben Rose-Redwood, who has made a study of corporate sponsorship, said communities the size of North Cowichan are out of their league when it comes to making money through corporate sponsorship programs.

The City of Victoria, with twice the population of North Cowichan, studied the idea of corporate sponsorship in 2012 and determined it only had one facility, the Victoria Conference Centre, that would be a lucrative venue for naming rights.

“If a city such as Victoria—the provincial capital with a population over twice the size of the Municipality of North Cowichan—only has one or two potentially viable naming rights assets in economic terms, do you really need to pay a private consultant over $50,000 to use a “proprietary formulae” to determine whether North Cowichan has anything comparable to Victoria’s Conference Centre?” Rose-Redwood asked.

Coun. Rob Douglas, who raised a red flag about the idea of corporate sponsorship idea in July, agreed that the public’s confusion over the role of Island Savings indicates one of the drawbacks with corporate sponsorship: the perception that sponsorship equates to undue influence in the political process.

“I’d say the perception is definitely a concern,” he told the Chronicle.

But he’s also concerned with the level of advertising communities – and especially children and youth – are exposed to. “For me it’s a bigger issue, where we’re bombarded with these ads. We need spaces to be citizens rather than consumers,” he said.

“I think at some point we have to say ‘Enough is enough.’”

Mayor Jon Lefebure said feedback on the proposal to launch a corporate sponsorship program in North Cowichan has come mostly from people opposed to the idea. “I have to say it’s mostly been negative at this point.”

But he said there is potentially quite a bit of revenue to be generated through a sponsorship program. “I can imagine, over time, sponsorships adding up to quite a bit of money,” he said, “but still there is a lot of decision-making before we go ahead.”

He said the imbroglio over Island Savings Centre could have more of an impact on potential sponsors views, rather than community receptivity to a sponsorship program.

“I think it’s a little bit the other way around,” Lefebure said. “I think the sponsor might be weighing this in the balance.”

 

Just Posted

Ladysmith storyteller chosen for TD Canadian Children’s Book Week

Ladysmith oral story teller Rachel Dunstan Muller recently returned from a tour of northern Quebec.

Cowichan Valley Regional District’s affordable-housing strategy moves forward

Board signs three-year financial agreement for initiatives

North Cowichan council denies rezoning bid for cannabis outlet in Chemainus

Site on Chemainus Road deemed too close to spaces frequented by youth

Get ready to hit the links in support of the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce

The Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce is preparing for their 12th Annual Golf Classic.

New book from Nanaimo Historian details social history of the E&N railway

Along the E&N tells the story of 32 establishments from Esquimalt to Campbell River.

Rescuers finally persuade Eiffel Tower climber to come down

The official said the man was ‘under control and out of danger’ on Monday night

LETTER: Fletcher ‘blurs reality’ on B.C. union public construction

Bridge, highway projects awarded to companies, not unions

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Federal government funds millions to help B.C. police spot drugged driving

Many police departments have expressed wariness about using the only government-approved roadside test

Judge: Mississippi 6-week abortion ban ‘smacks of defiance’

The new law would prohibit most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected

Oil companies, 24-cent gap between B.C., Alberta to be focus of gas price probe

Premier John Horgan called the spike in gas prices ‘alarming’

Motorcycle deaths spike 50% since 2017

Riders were most likely fatally crash on the weekends compared with the rest of the week

Mother of accused charged in death of Surrey teen girl found in torched SUV

Manjit Kaur Deo charged with ‘accessory after the fact’ in 2017 death of Surrey teen

Family of B.C. pilot killed in Honduras trying to ‘piece together’ tragedy

Patrick Forseth has a number of friends in the area and was loved by everyone

Most Read