The City of Nanaimo is spending to make the most of Rogers Hometown Hockey, but it’s viewing those costs as not only an expense, but also an investment.
During its last two meetings, city council first approved a $123,000 budget for the festival, and then an additional $200,000 for an outdoor rink. There will also be costs associated with setting up a floating platform in Swy-a-lana Lagoon, though the docks utilized there – costing $271,000 – will later be relocated to other swimming and paddling locations in the city.
“We’re trying to build a festival atmosphere around the event that will lead into it, and then when it leaves, optimally there will be physical legacy pieces that we’ll have that we’ll be able to continue to use to build future events and attractions and annual events as a result,” said Coun. Bill Bestwick, who chairs the city’s Hometown Hockey organizing committee.
Liette Masse, the city’s coordinator for the event, said a sponsorship sub-committee has met a couple of times and can begin its work in earnest now that council has approved some of the plans.
“Now they actually know what they can go after and ask for, whether it’s a sponsor to do the fireworks show or a sponsor for the ice rink or a sponsor to have their name on one of the [floating] docks,” she said.
Bestwick said sponsorships will alleviate some of the city’s costs, though he noted there will be some restrictions because Rogers Hometown Hockey already has some partnerships in place.
“There’s sensitivities and we have to be careful,” he said. “We also don’t want to take sponsorship away from other organizations that might get it, otherwise, too.”
At some point, organizers will be looking for volunteers, but not until sometime after the holidays as Bestwick said there’s plenty of committee work to do in the meantime.
“The most important thing is people coming down and having fun and if we can do that, then it will be a huge success,” he said.
Hometown Hockey is Feb. 26 and events will begin at least a week before that.