Official aquatic centre name draws flak

MEGAN MILLER
Last updated 12:24 04/07/2012
pool landscape
JOHN BISSET/ Fairfax NZ

MOUTHFUL: The CBay aquatic centre's official name, Caroline Bay Trust Aoraki Centre, has not impressed everyone.

caroline bay trust aoraki centre logo
LOGO: Caroline Bay Trust Aoraki Centre

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The official name of the new aquatic centre at Caroline Bay pays homage to the project's single largest monetary donor, but some critics say it's a bit wet.

The facility previously known as CBay will now be called the Caroline Bay Trust Aoraki Centre, after naming rights for the $23.5 million complex were awarded to the project's largest sponsor, Trust Aoraki.

The gaming machine trust has pledged $1.45 million to the project, Timaru mayor Janie Annear said.

A large portion of that money has already been paid, but the trust has three years to pay the full amount promised.

Mrs Annear said the trust didn't arrange to purchase naming rights for CBay. Gaming trusts aren't permitted to do so.

"It was always part of our gameplan, that whoever the major sponsor was would get naming rights,'' she said. Trust Aoraki had no prior knowledge of that plan, she said.

''We hadn't actually put it out there at all,'' she said. ''It wasn't part of our discussions.''

The businesses operating inside the complex will still use ''CBay'' as part of their names, such as ''CBay Fitness.''

The complex's lengthy new moniker has sparked some criticism in the community.

''I can't imagine families saying 'come on, let's go for a swim at the Caroline Bay Trust Aoraki Centre','' Grasmere St resident Lisa Rogers said.

''We already have long-winded sponsor names for the stadium, Fraser Park and the tennis centre ... Why add this fabulous new facility to the list?''

On The Herald's Facebook page, the question ''What will you call the new aquatic centre?'' sparked a lengthy debate, with many commenters in favour of the polished ''CBay'' or the old and familiar ''Maori Park.''

In an informal poll, the majority of respondents said they'd simply call it ''Expensive''.

Mrs Annear acknowledged that the name is lengthy, but said council was advised by marketing staff to include the full phrase ''Caroline Bay'' to promote its location, particularly for people travelling through Timaru.

The facility's logo conveys that it's an aquatics and fitness centre, she said.

''I think the old story is that people will call it whatever they decide to call it,'' she said. ''You've got examples of that even with ASB Stadium. A lot of people still call it Aorangi Park.''

Whatever it's called, the complex is set for a high-profile opening by Prime Minister John Key on July 27.

Some parts of the facility, including the pools, gym, cafe and wellness suite, are expected to start operating ahead of that date, from about mid month.

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- The Timaru Herald

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