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Banff sponsorship policy gets final approval

“We know we have to be cautious that from time to time there’ll be interest groups wanting the Town to sell our souls. Our citizens don’t want us to sully our reputation, so we’ve created something that will avoid this.”
Banff Town Hall 2
Banff Town Hall

BANFF – A new policy spells out the rules for naming municipal facilities and inking sponsorship deals.

Unanimously passed by council on Sept. 8, the policy clearly stipulates that administration must seek council approval if a sponsorship deal with a third party is worth more than $250,000.

Councillor Peter Poole said the new policy provides the right blend of authority for administration and council, and outlines a clear vision moving forward for naming and sponsorships.

“We know we have to be cautious that from time-to-time there’ll be interest groups wanting the Town to sell our souls,” he said.

“Our citizens don’t want us to sully our reputation, so we’ve created something that will avoid this.”

Council can assign names to properties and the Town of Banff can get cash or in-kind support in return for a profile to an external third party organization or business – but with strings attached.

Under the policy, naming could apply to facilities and buildings, structures and bridges, parks and trails, gardens, playgrounds, development areas and features within buildings such as rooms or ice pads.

Sponsorship, which would be a short-term opportunity, could apply to the above, but primarily to events, programs and services.

Administration has removed reference to the proposed sale of naming rights, which is a type of sponsorship not currently a consideration in Banff.

Officials say the policy emphasizes that naming is the priority for council and that sponsorship deals are a secondary priority that would occur in limited circumstances only.

Jason Darrah, the Town of Banff’s director of communications and marketing, said sponsorship is identified as an opportunity to pursue within the current Banff Community Plan.

“There is a stipulation that we seek alternatives to reduce dependency on tax dollars, but the articulation in this proposed policy is always to enhance an existing program, service, building or facility with that type of sponsorship,” he said.

“It really does represent a partnership, and I think we’ve gone through a number of changes to strengthen the diligence that the Town has in ensuring it’s a good partnership that we can align our name with if there is support.” 

As for naming, the idea is it would be done to improve general and emergency navigation to a specific location, to facilitate property rental or lease, and to reinforce the culture and identity of the Banff community.

Properties with names of historic or community significance such as the Louis Trono Gazebo and the Sean Frackleton Memorial Basketball Court would be considered for renaming only in rare circumstances. Generally that would occur only after 10 years, but there would be consultation with those associated with the existing name.

Under the naming policy, organizations and events could be commemorated. Individuals may be as well, but that would be infrequent. 

When naming a property after an individual, the proposed policy states that assignment should seek to better reflect the diversity of the Banff community, and demonstrate equal consideration of genders.

The policy also encourages that the names to be honoured reflect the heritage, cultural, ethnic or social diversity of the community, including early pioneers, First Peoples, traders and explorers.

“Naming things is such an important thing that reflects our community’s values and our identity, and this I believe speaks to why council has been so determined and deliberate in reviewing this policy,” said Darrah.

“It really does carry a  lot of weight, and as we’ve seen around the community, in our region and even in other communities, the opportunity to rename things is almost just as important as assigning names.”


About the Author: Cathy Ellis

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