A well-known recreational centre in Rimbey, probably the busiest spot in town on occasion and definitely a hub of activity, could experience a name change.
The name of Rimbey Arena, which was given to the rink since it was built in 1992, is fitting, but council has been presented with an idea of selling the naming rights to a business to generate revenue.
At its regular meeting June 11, council discussed a recommendation from Peter Stenstrom, community services co-ordinator, to sell the naming rights of the Rimbey Arena to a business.
Stenstrom said the idea, which he has discussed with recreation director Rick Kreklewich, could create a win/win situation.
“The arena is a cornerstone of our community and is viewed by many to be a key gathering point. The arena name is frequently mentioned in publications, promotional materials and day-to-day discussions. Due to the substantial exposure the name receives, there is value attached to it.”
Stenstrom said the income potential of selling the naming rights would be in the vicinity of $20,000 per year and that money would be used to enhance programs, services and help cover operation expenses.”
He noted the arena ran at a deficit of $126,960 last year and this number continues to increase due to rising utility rates.
“The potential income is clearly needed as we look ahead into the future.”
Stenstrom realizes the selling the naming rights might not be embraced by some people.
“The building was built by the people of Rimbey for the people of Rimbey and some might show offence to selling the name to their building.”
However, he said the community would be better serviced with the additional money the name change would generate.
“Taking advantage of this advertising opportunity is a responsible use of the public’s resources. When the dust settles, the arena’s name will not affect the people on a day-to-day basis but the increase in funds will.”
Stenstrom said advertising boards have been placed around the perimeter of the arena, and changing the name would give the rink a “title sponsor.”
He said the suggestion was brought forward about seven years ago, but the council at that time did not pursue it.
Baytex Energy Centre in Peace River, Enmax Centrium in Red Deer and Suncor Community Leisure Centre in Fort McMurray are examples of community buildings named after title sponsors.
The written recommendation generated little discussion around the council chambers and councillors seemed hesitant to express an opinion.
Mayor Sheldon Ibbotson said he would like to receive public input before making any decision regarding the name change.
Coun. Gayle Rondeel wanted more information.
“I’d like to know more about it. We have a lot of things to consider before making a decision.”
The issue is to be discussed again at council’s July 16 meeting.