The City of Kitchener is considering a policy to sell the naming rights to public spaces and buildings, a move that staff say could generate up to $250,000 a year for city coffers.
"It really is an attempt to improve our services and increase our revenue without having to raise taxes," Coun. Scott Davey told Craig Norris in an interview on The Morning Edition Monday.
"Obviously there's a lot of potential sensitivities around it – which spaces should we be naming?"
The survey will be posted on the City of Kitchener website, and will ask the public what buildings and spaces they want to exclude from the naming rights process.
"Of course every single member of council would stand up and say, "We're not going to rename Victoria Park," for example. We're not going to have the Coca-Cola Clock Tower or anything like that," said Davey.
'We're not going to have the Coca-Cola Clock Tower or anything like that.' - Kitchener Coun. Scott Davey
Davey said recreation complexes or The Aud could be up for naming, and suggested local ski hill Chicopee could advertise on the side of city snowplows.
"I think that's a relatively inoffensive way that we can raise money and what that allows us to do is invest more in city services and projects we'd like to see without having to raise taxes to do that," said Davey.
The councillor said that Kitchener was consider the move not because the city's finances were too tight, but in order to keep municipal taxes at the rate of inflation while still expanding city services.
"We're looking at it as more of a growth initiative," said Davey. "It's not at all a question of our finances. The City of Kitchener is very strong financially. It's just more: how quickly do we want to improve some of services, how much do we want to raise taxes to pay for some of the added things people want to see?"
Davey said the city has done several surveys, including one through their independent advisory group, Compass Kitchener.
Respondents said they want service costs to stay at the rate of inflation, and the city city needs to find alternative sources of revenue in order to do that, he said
Kitchener's plan is limited in scope compared to sponsorships proposed by the city of Winnipeg.
The city moved to sell off the rights to most city services for a relatively inexpensive price. For example, for $1,000 or less you can have a free swim night named after you, or for under $5,000 you can sponsor a park bench.