What’s in a name? It’s a question we’re still pondering, long after Shakespeare first posed it. In the Cowichan Valley in 2018 the context is the community centre on James Street in Duncan.
Time’s up for the “Island Savings Centre” moniker, though that’s what all the signs still say. Apparently because nobody properly considered what would happen after the sponsorship that saw the Cowichan Community Centre change its name to advertise the credit union expired, as it did more than a month ago. Which is definitely a hitch that needs to be taken into account going forward, whatever comes next.
The Cowichan Valley Regional District got $100,000 a year for the sale of the naming rights for 10 years. That money paid for many capital projects.
But many who were against the name change in the first place argued that it was a slap in the face to remove “community” from the name, since by far, the community has provided the lion’s share of both capital and operating costs over the years for the facility which includes a library, gymnasium, ice arena, theatre, art gallery and more.
It’s a compelling argument. Why let a corporation come in and take all the glory for something that the community built? And now we learn that it will be expensive to try to change the name back. And it looks, at this point, like we’re going to have to. A request for interest from other potential corporate sponsors got no response. Even if they did get another private company to take over the naming rights, we’d argue that this time they should build into the deal that they’re responsible to fund the rebranding on the back end as well as the front.
But now is the opportunity to ponder once again whether we want to sell naming rights to our public institutions for cash rewards. Is it a small price to pay for much-needed funding that won’t come from our taxes? It looks like it may not even be a question we have to answer, at least not immediately, since there are no suitors in the offing. But it’s something worth considering now that we’re at a crossroads.