Late last week Councilor Mark Taylor of the City of Ottawa, as reported by Graham Lanktree of Metro, said city buildings and parks and recreation programs could be named by sponsors under the Community Champions program.
It’s unusual territory for a city, says councilor Mark Taylor, but by 2015 Ottawa hopes to raise $12.7 million by selling the naming rights to public buildings, rooms in those buildings, public pools or even summer camps. “We can’t rely on taxpayers, particularly in the economic reality today, to carry all the water when it comes to municipal programs,” said Taylor, chair of the Community and Protective Services Committee. “The ability to partner with organizations, businesses, and individuals will provide some of those facilities and services without relying on taxpayers.”
The Community Champions program will seek to raise those funds by drawing up a list of city buildings ripe for re-branding and reach out to businesses and wealthy individuals. “The Michele Heights Community Centre in my riding is a potential candidate,” Taylor said. “If there is a significant reason why a place is called what it’s called, we would steer off those ones.” Councilors want to make sure that they’re not selling out the city, he said. And deals around branding a building would have the city looking for long-term agreements beyond 10 years.
Late last year, the Richcraft Group began forging a 15 year agreement to rename the new Kanata North Recreation Complex the Richcraft Recreation Complex at a cost of $500,000. “There’s a high value on the values that our residents hold dear. I can’t think of a business off the top of my head that we would turn away, but we would want a name that is consistent with the city’s value set,” said Taylor. “It gives us the opportunity to do something else with that money,” he said. “Something that taxpayers would like to see.”