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City building 'pillars of growth'

Now into its fourth year, city council’s Roadmap for Growth is 89 per cent complete or on track, according to city manager Scott Hildebrand.

Hildebrand delivered a presentation to council this week, updating the progress of the initiative launched in 2011.

Twenty-eight of the 62 projects — called "black" projects — are already complete, while 22 "green" projects are on track. Five "yellow" projects are delayed, and seven "red" projects will not be completed by the end of 2014.

"Having 50 of the 62 items complete or on line to being complete, I think is good," Hildebrand said. "This is council’s vision and us as administration are the people that go and execute that vision."

The projects stem from nine "pillars of growth" — infrastructure, communications, rural outreach, affordable housing, economic development, Downtown HUB, environment, culture and heritage and recreation.

One of the major completed projects is the airport strategy.

"That was when we were still wondering if WestJet was coming or not, and now we’ve got that and are now working on the redevelopment of the terminal," Hildebrand said.

The accommodation tax strategy is also complete — the hotel tax has been in force for a few years and a reserve has been developed to provide grants to events and tourism initiatives.

Household hazardous waste, organics/composting and cultural events are all projects crossed off the list.

Projects that are considered "yellow" are delayed but are expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

Yellow projects include infill opportunities, which Hildebrand explained as the development of a land inventory database that can help the city with sustainable growth by maximizing the use of existing infrastructure.

Website upgrades are also delayed, as the city is looking to fill a web developer position. The city has several websites in addition to brandon.ca, including the Brandon Police Service, heritage and Riverbank Discovery Centre.

Building equivalency standards, a project under the Downtown HUB pillar, is also delayed. This is to change standards for the redevelopment of pre-building code buildings to encourage developers to redevelop period buildings for residential and commercial use.

"We do have some funding in this year’s budget now in 2014 to get that one back on track," Hildebrand said.

Another "yellow" project includes the elimination of combined sewers. As outlined in the Roadmap for Growth, separate sanitary and storm water collection systems will eliminate the need for combined sewer overflows. This has been delayed due to staffing changes in the engineering department.

Another project in this category is the development of a downtown entertainment complex. The goal was to seek out private development of an entertainment centre and/or a four-star hotel.

"That one has slowed right down and is kind of on hold right now but still potentially could be done before the end of the term," Hildebrand said.

Fundraising has begun for redeveloping the Strand Theatre, but that project has a long way to go.

The "red" projects which will not be complete by the end of 2014, include diking upgrades.

"We know it’s going to get done but that project is going to carry through to 2015, which will be another council’s term," Hildebrand said.

Due to funding cuts, sculptures in the street, as well as the downtown pedestrian mall, are in the red category.

A new recreation centre at the Keystone Centre is not going forward at the moment.

"That has been on the table for a while," Hildebrand said. "We’re still waiting for a business plan from the Keystone Centre."

Three affordable housing projects are in the red — 350 units of affordable housing, a developer/government strategy and inclusionary bylaw.

Council has talked about the idea of implementing a zoning bylaw that would require developers to either construct or contribute to affordable housing in Brandon, however that has not moved forward.

"Overall I’m very happy with our Roadmap for Growth," Hildebrand said. "I’m looking forward to version 2.0 come October 2014." 

» jaustin@brandonsun.com

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 22, 2014

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Now into its fourth year, city council’s Roadmap for Growth is 89 per cent complete or on track, according to city manager Scott Hildebrand.

Hildebrand delivered a presentation to council this week, updating the progress of the initiative launched in 2011.

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Now into its fourth year, city council’s Roadmap for Growth is 89 per cent complete or on track, according to city manager Scott Hildebrand.

Hildebrand delivered a presentation to council this week, updating the progress of the initiative launched in 2011.

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