Nanaimo council asks for changes to new sponsorship policy

NANAIMO – Concern voiced over potential increase to city staff positions.

It’s back to the drawing board for a new sponsorship policy after city council raised concerns it would lead to a new staff position.

Nanaimo city council is moving ahead with foundation work for a new sponsorship strategy with calls for city staff to develop naming rights and advertising policies, but rejected a draft document outlining how it can cash in on third-party partnerships.

A new sponsorship policy, considered a step toward a corporate sponsorship program, was presented to council last week with principles for third-party deals and roles of city staff and council to approve new partnerships. The document also suggests a sponsorship coordinator.

Coun. Diane Brennan said she supports directing city staff members to put together policy and Coun. Ian Thorpe called it a starting point, but councillors Jim Kipp and Gord Fuller raised concerns about whether the document would lead to a new staff position.

Although Suzanne Samborski, the city’s senior manager of culture and heritage, said there is no intent to have a new position, city manager Ted Swabey said the work won’t be done well if it’s off the side of a desk.

“Unless we put full resources to it, we will never know the full potential,” he said, adding that city council can talk about what they want to do around the coordinator position once there’s a sponsorship strategy in place.

Mayor Bill McKay, part of the committee that drafted the policy, said he’s fine with council not approving the document and that council was “absolutely correct” that as presented, the document would have implications on the size of the civil service. He asked Samborski to talk to other communities with full sponsorship groups to see how they are paid for.