The Island Savings Centre will revert back to its original name of the Cowichan Community Centre.
The board of the Cowichan Valley Regional District unanimously voted for the name change at a recent meeting to the applause of many of the meeting’s spectators.
The Island Savings Centre Commission had originally recommended to change the name back to the Cowichan Community Centre after the contract with Island Savings expired in October 2018, but the board referred the issue back to the commission for further review, and to determine if Cowichan Tribes wanted any input into the name change, at a meeting in March.
North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring, who is a member of the commission, wasn’t at the board meeting when the decision was made to send the issue back to the ISCC.
He told the board at the recent meeting that the commission conducted extensive research late last year to determine the degree of interest in the community to sponsor the centre and attach a new name.
Siebring said there is still no interest in the community for anyone to take on the naming rights for the centre.
“We did receive $1 million for the naming rights eight years ago from Island Savings but, at the end of the day, the commission decided we didn’t want to get into that again, at least for the primary naming rights of the whole facility,” Siebring said.
“There was a lot of community angst about it at the time. It was also discussed that Island Savings has had eight months of free advertising because its name is still on the building while we’ve been dilly-dallying over the issue. The commission feels it’s time to stop the free advertising.”
As for input from Cowichan Tribes, Siebring said a number of commission members pointed out that there are several other First Nations within the jurisdiction of the CVRD as well, and the feeling among commission members was that enough time had already been spent on the issue.
The $1 million naming rights contract that was held between the CVRD and Island Savings generated $100,000 annually for 10 years for the community centre and provided capital funding for projects including facility upgrades, a new parking lot, new sound systems, a new Zamboni and more.
Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, who made the original motion to send the recommendation that the centre be renamed the Cowichan Community Centre back to the commission for further review, said he now supports going back to the original name.
“If Director Siebring had been here at that meeting, the motion to send it back to the commission probably would not have been made,” he said
“The feedback we have received from the community confirms for me that the Cowichan Community Centre is the right name.”