BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN
Diane Gray, president and CEO of CentrePort Canada, addresses members of the Brandon Chamber of Commerce at the Royal Oak Inn on Friday.
Top brass from CentrePort Canada, the 20,000-acre inland port outside of Winnipeg, says what’s good for Winnipeg is good for Brandon.
Diane Gray, president and CEO of CentrePort Canada, was in Brandon yesterday to speak about the project during a Brandon Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Royal Oak Inn & Suites.
"There’s an opportunity to capitalize on the concentrated transportation investments," Gray said during her presentation to the business crowd of around 200.
The inland port, for which work started in 2008, is "strategically" placed to take advantage of Winnipeg’s central location in Canada and acts as a hub for three large rail companies, trucking companies and airlines going through the Armstrong Richardson International Airport.
CentrePort’s CEO also argued the project can be used to lobby for strategic infrastructure within the area to improve Westman’s connection to the three modes of transportation converging at the port.
"That benefits your businesses, it benefits productivity and it helps to reduce costs overall," Gray said. "When you have more companies coming in, it attracts more transportation companies — let’s be honest, they sharpen their pencils to get your business."
The industrial footprint located beside Winnipeg’s international airport has 32 businesses opening on the site and the project, Gray argues, raises "global awareness raising of Manitoba as a place to invest," and urges the rest of the province "to become partners in what’s happening in Winnipeg."
"I truly believe there are opportunities for businesses and communities outside of Winnipeg to benefit from some of the concepts, the ideas (and) the promotion that we’re doing not only for Winnipeg but for Manitoba."
Meanwhile, the Manitoba government decided to funnel substantial infrastructure cash into work that will help the project.
This week’s throne speech included a pledge to flood-proof Highway 75 and build a new bypass at Headingley to divert truck traffic, extending CentrePort Canada Way, which is part of a $5.5 billion Manitoba-wide infrastructure pledge.
CentrePort Canada also received a vote of confidence after Alberta-based Olexa Developments announced last month it is building a 44,000-square-foot multi-tenant industrial building in the Brookside Business Park within the inland port before all the tenants have been identified.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition November 16, 2013