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'People have just misunderstood,' realtor says of backlash over Holly naming rights

'That money is going right back into my community, which is what I wanted and why this made sense for me,' says Peggy Hill

The possible renaming of a popular community centre in Barrie’s southwest end has brought with it some pushback.

Local businesswoman Peggy Hill told BarrieToday she has received a few emails from residents regarding the idea of renaming the Holly Community Centre and says she has made sure to respond in an attempt to alleviate their concerns.

“I understand people’s frustration, I get it, but for me it was a matter of I know that times are tough. Some of these places are going to have to close down,” she said.

And despite what some people may think, Hill says she did not initiate the idea.

“I didn’t go looking for naming rights. The City of Barrie came to me with an opportunity," she said. 

Hill acknowledges the opportunity would serve as a great marketing incentive for her business, but noted that was not the only reason she pursued the deal.

“I could have had any of the community centres…  but I have lived in Holly for over 30 years. My kids use that community centre to this day, so that’s why Holly was so close to my heart,” she said. “I think people have just misunderstood.

"This is something that came up as an opportunity for some marketing and I felt it would help the community that I live in. I never looked at it as a bad thing," Hill added.

City council will consider final approval of a motion to rename Holly Community Centre as the Peggy Hill Team Community Centre, which is $640,000, eight-year naming rights agreement. The Heritage Barrie committee would also be consulted on the development of an installation at the Mapleton Avenue community centre to showcase the history of the Holly community.

Council decided in 2015 to look into naming rights deals for Barrie facilities and currently has a list of several city buildings for which staff are looking to find a sponsor, including the Holly Community Centre.

Proceeds from the naming rights sale for Holly Community Centre would go into the city’s sponsorship revenue account, thereby contributing to the city’s overall annual operating revenue.

“I don’t think people really understand how tight things are for them. (The city) is either going to do this or they’re going to raise taxes, and then it affects everybody,” Hill said. “To keep these centres running isn’t cheap. It’s a big deal.

“I came from a space where I wanted to help the community that I live in more than anything else. Yes, it’s absolutely great marketing for us, but that money is going right back into my community, which is what I wanted and why this made sense for me," Hill added.




About the Author: Nikki Cole

Nikki Cole has been a community issues reporter for BarrieToday since February, 2021
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