Cermaq offers $100,000 in return for turf field naming rights

The city’s artificial turf field at Robron Park may be getting a new name.

At last week’s Monday council meeting, Cermaq Canada announced that it is offering $100,000 to help pay for the construction of a field house in return for naming rights.

Sid Shook, director of the Robron Fieldhouse Committee, said the aquaculture corporation – which is headquartered in Campbell River – would make three payments towards the fieldhouse in exchange for naming the turf field Cermaq Field.

A single $50,000 payment would be made on March 1, 2017, followed by two separate payments of $25,000 each on March 1 of 2018 and on March 1, 2019.

Shook said, however, that because Campbell River Youth Soccer wants to build the fieldhouse in the spring that it needs the city to put up the initial funding and Cermaq’s payments would go towards paying the city back.

“In order for us to build in March, which we hope to do, I’m asking you to budget $50,000 which would be paid back in 2018 and 2019 when Cermaq pays those payments,” Shook said.

He said in return for those payments, that Cermaq is asking for naming rights for 10 years, with the right to renew for a further 10 years in exchange for additional payments in the future.

A prominent sign bearing Cermaq’s name would also be displayed at the park.

Shook said he’s hopeful that the city will accept the agreement.

“I take it as a generous offer,” Shook said. “It’s a great example of a corporate business in the corporate world helping the community in which they’re doing business.”

Council, while it did not make a decision on the offer at last week’s meeting, agreed it’s encouraging to have an organization such as Cermaq investing in the community.

“Here is a great example of collaboration, community building seen between two partners. That really is just so important,” said Coun. Colleen Evans. “You need to have that community investment and to see a corporation committing to Campbell River in this way, I just want to say thank you very much for your commitment.”

Coun. Charlie Cornfield echoed that.

“Thank you to Cermaq for your support for the community, appreciate it.”

Cermaq is the second largest salmon farming corporation in the world and has operations in Chile, Norway and Canada, with its head office in Campbell River. The company employs 4,400 people around the world and spends thousands of dollars each year on sponsorships, typically related to sports, healthy communities and oceans.

The Rotary Community Fieldhouse is an initiative of the Campbell River Youth Soccer Association which has been vigorously campaigning for funds to build a facility expected to include change rooms, public washrooms, wheelchair access, a concession, a multi-purpose banquet room, a board room and wrap-around deck that overlooks the Robron play fields.

Several local businesses and community groups, including Rotary, have already donated to construction of the fieldhouse.