GOVERNMENT OF CANADA
Brandon’s Agricultural Research Centre
Brandon’s Agricultural Research Centre may become home to several new researchers and technicians — or not —thanks to federal government restructuring plans.
Employees from the Cereal Research Centre at the University of Manitoba have spoken with Brandon Mayor Shari Decter Hirst about the possible relocation to the Agriculture Research Centre in Brandon in the coming months.
While it is not yet known how many of those positions will be moved to Brandon or Morden, when the federal government closes the centre in 2014, Decter Hirst said about 50 of the affected staff welcomed a chance to learn more about their prospective home at a meeting in Winnipeg on Wednesday.
The Winnipeg Free Press and The Co-Operator have reported that 51 positions will move to Morden and six will be added to Brandon’s research facility. Decter Hirst said the number of workers headed for Brandon has not yet been determined.
"They thought they would know before these presentations, but we extended the offer for those who are coming to Brandon and a key part of a move is ensuring that the spouses and families are excited about a move," Decter Hirst said. "Once the folks know they are coming to Brandon, we’ll arrange for something to happen in Brandon for them so they can see the housing and look at the schools and see how beautiful our parks are."
Decter Hirst, who was accompanied by Gerald Cathcart of the city’s economic development department, used the presentation to promote the city’s merits. She compared the situation to the move of the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry from Winnipeg to CFB Shilo.
"We spoke about how those families have fallen in love with the city," Decter Hirst said.
"It’s a stressful time because they don’t know where they are going. It’s got to be very difficult for them and we were there to tell them a move to Brandon represents a great opportunity."
Decter Hirst said the Brandon delegation met with staff for a couple of hours and answered related questions, such as the availability and price of housing, and what types and denominations of churches are in the community.
"Most of the people in the room had never been to Brandon before, so we pointed out things like, yes, we do have a Starbucks, and you can probably walk there from the research station," Decter Hirst said. "We also brought up the practical details such as grocery stores and school. This decision is being made for them, which adds to their anxiety because they are happy where they are."
There were also questions about air service and Brandon’s airport, Decter Hirst said, as the incoming workers will be travelling on business, and the shuttle services available to Winnipeg also came up in conversation. Once the number of employees relocating to Brandon is known, Decter Hirst will have a chance to provide an update to WestJet, as the city continues to lobby for regional air service from a national airline.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 13, 2012