Policy sets groundwork for sponsorships

The City of Nanaimo will craft a new sponsorship policy, as officials consider cashing in on naming rights.

Nanaimo city council took the first step toward creating a corporate sponsorship program this week, opting to develop a new sponsorship policy.

A six-member committee will build the framework for politicians to consider.

According to city officials, the document will outline what’s for sale, criteria, and the kinds of partnerships the municipality wants to encourage, such as whether it would consider an liquor company.

“It’s a values framework,” said Coun. Bill McKay, who will sit on the new ad hoc committee. “It would clearly delineate where the city might work with a group.”

The policy is also anticipated to determine if the city moves ahead with an inventory of opportunities for sponsorships – the next step in a new program.

“We might find through the policy nothing’s for sale, maybe everything is important to protect,” said Suzanne Samborski, the city’s senior manager of culture and heritage. “Then why would we go to pay for an evaluation on things?”

The City of Nanaimo has been exploring the potential to cash in on naming rights for playing fields and public buildings since last December, with aims of filling budget gaps and raising new revenue.

If it’s done right, McKay believes a new sponsorship program could raise millions of dollars in revenue for the municipality.

“Maybe there’s some things we want to do relative to new facilities that we could afford to do if we had a major sponsor,” he said.

A new policy is expected to be presented to council this fall.

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