Shoreline Beacon e-edition

Council loves ‘Just Add Water’ fundraising campaign for Aquatics and Wellness Centre


With the catchy slogan ‘Just Add Water’ the fundraising campaign for the $50 million Aquatics and Wellness Centre (AWC) was heartily endorsed by Saugeen Shores councillors at a Sept. 11 general committee meeting.

Although the campaign kick off and ground-breaking ceremony dates remain secret – staff said the announcement would come when things were “well aligned” – councillors endorsed the “quiet ask” approach to generate between $3 million and $3.5 million.

In an update, Town CAO Kara Van Myall recalled council’s August decision to “simplify” the fundraising campaign to focus on naming opportunities for the facility with the cost scaled back to $50 million from $56 million.

Modelled on the successful quiet ask campaign for the Lamont Sports Centre, this campaign would appeal “directly to potential donors (identified in advance) and create an avenue for members of the general public (not identified in advance) to contribute as well,” Van Myall said before introducing fundraising lead Tracy Murray and fundraising coordinator Rob Stanley.

Murray said the $3 to $3.5 million goal is a working goal and a “comfortable’ starting point. Following council’s approval she said they’d begin recruiting and training volunteers to begin the “asks” in the community in late October.

Murray said the “Just Add Water” branding creates a “simple catchy hook” that people will easily recognize and remember. The marketing campaign will target four audience: young families; retired and those with accessibility needs; sports and tourism audience; and local businesses who benefit from sport tourism. The marketing campaign would feature local residents including young children swimming and seniors walking the track with the tag line “Just Add Water.”

Vice deputy mayor Mike Myatt, who co-chaired the successful Lamont Sports Park fundraising committee, told Murray and Stanley that they’d “absolutely aced’ the report that was “right on the mark.”He noted that a lot of people want to donate to the campaign and predicted “good success”, calling the “Just Add water” slogan brilliant.

Coun. Cheryl Grace was also impressed and thanked Murray and Stanley for their vision that has “really given shape to this campaign, with specifics. And I love the concept “Just Add Water” ” Grace said.

Deputy mayor Diane Huber suggested there’s some “confusion” in the community about how the AWC is being paid for and that she likes new language that says funding is an on-going process through the Town’s Legacy Reserve, Development Charges and hopefully, provincial and federal grants, and is a “regular addition” to peoples’ tax bills to continue to fund the reserve.

Later Mayor Charbonneau noted that the $50 million project is funded within the budget and will not mean tax increase because it is “funded by taxes being paid today.”

Huber said they should remind the public about the ground-breaking date that had been selected, but CAO Van Myall said they’d wait to make an announcement. “I just want to make sure that is wellaligned,” she said.

Coun. Bud Halpin suggested they sell naming rights for a net zero building.”Could we have naming rights for solar panel? Could we have naming rights for solar hot water? I’m still going to keep pushing that it is important for us to have a net zero building…” he said.

CAO Van Myall said they have added some of Halpin’s suggested naming rights to the project.

Mayor Luke Charbonneau thanked Murray and Stanley for their work to date as council found a 'comfortable’ path forward for the fundraising campaign.

“You’re in the right lane for council. I know that it can be difficult sometimes answering to us to try to figure out what we might like and might not like, but you’ve done it,” he said, predicting it will be a successful campaign.





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