"On the evening of Jan. 30, community members can join us for a family skate in Waterloo Public Square and Kitchener City Hall for free hot chocolate and cookies. It's our way of saying thank you to loyal BlackBerry supporters in our own backyard."
"I appreciate the importance of RIM, but there are a lot of other companies in our community that are very important to us also," he said.
"RIM is grateful for the support of the community and is working on plans to celebrate the launch of BlackBerry 10," reads a statement from Renata Rusiniak, manager of community relations with RIM.
"Are we getting any benefit for this? Or are we just being asked to do them a favour for three weeks?" said Ward 10 Coun. Dan Glenn Graham.
"The key thing about our policy is that it doesn't allow for the primary message to be one of advertising," he said.
As some councillors pointed out, banners often have a corporate component to indicate that a company has financially sponsored an event, such as the TD Canada Trust Blues Festival. However, logos on those banners cannot take up more than 20 per cent of the space, according to Rod Regier, executive director of economic development.
"This is a company that has been important to us in the past and I trust it will be in the future," he said.
Research In Motion (RIM) a company that reported $2.9 billion in cash reserves last quarter will be given advertising space in the downtown for free, after council voted 10 1 to allow an exemption to the city's banner policy.
While RIM will be covering the expense for the banners, including installation, removal and any city staff time involved, they will not be paying the city for the advertising space, nor are they paying to use Civic Square to host their public skate.
"This is a pure and simple advertising, marketing situation."
"I'm a little uneasy about setting this precedent."
"I'm certainly sympathetic to RIM and I'm very glad they have this product. I hope it's successful. I'm concerned about the endorsement from the city's point of view. Although we do have a stake in their success and certainly Omega Constellation Automatic Chronometer Officially Certified they're a huge partner in the community in general, I'm not sure about the message it's sending," said Glenn Graham. "This makes me a little bit nervous about the message it's sending."
"It may be perceived in the business industry that we're giving a bit more consideration to RIM,"said Ward 4 Coun. Yvonne Fernandes.
Ward 9 Coun. Frank Etherington asked how the city could turn down future offers, saying, Omega Grey Side Of The Moon Meteorite Price
"I know that in the past there have been other corporate organizations that have wanted to use our banners and they've been turned down because we have pretty strict policies about what they can be used for. It's for community based functions.
RIM communication specialist Krista Seggewiss said RIM has yet to work out the details of their public skate, including what entertainment would be available. While the event will be free, skating at Civic Square is always free to the public.
However, the exemption given to RIM allows the company to put up banners in advance of the Blackberry 10 launch. They will stay up for three Omega Seamaster Look Alike
The policy, which regulates banners on light posts along King Street, does not allow corporate advertising, and specifies that banners can only be used to promote the city itself; community based, non profit events; and performances or events at city Omega Speedmaster Brown Leather
Mayor Carl Zehr agreed, chastising council for any hesitancy.
While RIM will host a community skate at Civic Square, they do not wish to include that event on the banners, according to Cory Bluhm, manager of downtown development.
Several councillors expressed concern about setting a precedent by allowing the banners.
While Glenn Graham, Etherington and Fernandes all expressed misgivings, only Ward 3 Coun. John Gazzola actually voted against the motion.
Ward 2 Coun. Berry Vrbanovic argued that RIM has been a long time community partner and has a large impact on the local economy.
Bluhm said that having other companies approach the city for a similar deal is one of the "risks."
"What's being proposed here, I think, is a small request on the part of a company that is integral to the ongoing economic development in our region. It has been an important part of our region," said Vrbanovic.
City gives RIMfree advertising space
He also suggested that the city bring the idea of using The Cube an art space on the outside of the Berlin Tower to RIM, in conjunction with the banners.
"They're helping to animate [Civic Square] with us," said Regier. "They're adding elements to it in terms of entertainment and that kind of thing, so there's no rental fee for the square itself."
"I'm sort of disappointed that we're even having a debate over it. The public, as a whole, would likely thank us for supporting it."
"Our suggestion is that, given the significance of this event, that's the reason why we consider this an exception as opposed to amending the policy to allow this to happen further," he said. "Beyond that, yes, there are obviously risks that we could be approached by other companies wanting to do the same."
Tim Hortons often provides free community skates and swims in facilities that are not normally free to the public. The company pays the city to rent a facility and then offers free admission, according to a senior administrator with Tim Hortons. While the company may get a "community rate," they are charged for the rental, she said.
related facilities, such as Centre in the Square.
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