BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN
Development opportunities for businesses in the Park Avenue Industrial Park.
Now that development plans have been laid out for Brandon’s north end and the southwest corner, the city is setting its sights on the east-end industrial park.
Mayor Shari Decter Hirst said the city will be developing a secondary plan for the east end, in an effort to attract new industry to Brandon.
"We need to get our plans in place and our servicing in place, so that we can then be ready to go when they are," she said.
The first priority will be servicing the land in the southeast corner of Brandon.
"The industrial park has a very small portion of serviced land, so we’re going to have to take and run waste water pipeline towards that southeast corner," she said.
Once that is complete, Decter Hirst said the planning department will begin on the industrial park secondary plan, which will look at all of the industrial designated lands located east of the city.
"The size and location of water and sewer, traffic patterns, drainage of course is going to be an issue," she said. "And then looking at compatible uses … imagine heavy industry as well as sort of light industry, and getting those mixes."
The industrial park has some key assets, which the mayor hopes will attract new business — the proximity to both CN and CP Rail lines, the water reclamation centre and Highway 110.
"It’s an area that if they’re needing accessibility, if they’re needing to move product in and out, if they’re looking for processed water, as part of their processing," she said. "I think we’ve got a few options that we can be chasing."
Decter Hirst hopes oil companies are looking at Brandon for regional offices.
"They are wanting parking lots for trucks, perhaps machine sheds and those kinds of things," she said. "So we’ve got some variety, the number one thing we need to do is get the rest of that land serviced."
The secondary plans for the North Gateway and Southwest Brandon are focused primarily on residential neighbourhoods, so the industrial park plan will be a different target.
"People think in Brandon about growth as people, but we need growth for business, too," Decter Hirst said. "We are always dealing with people-growth pressures — housing, housing and housing — we forget about the other piece, which is jobs, jobs, jobs."
Ryan Nickel, the city’s acting principal planner, said the goal is to initiate the industrial park secondary plan in 2015.
"Essentially it’s just something we know there needs to be some sort of overall development framework for the industrial area, in particular if there’s a new servicing line to go in," he said.
Todd Birkhan, vice-president of Brandon Chamber of Commerce, said they are in favour of creating a plan for that area of the city, as it is important to make sure infrastructure is in place for potential developers.
"Your chances of success are a lot better if you can be proactive, and show people you’re ready for them, rather than being reactive and scrambling at the end," Birkhan said.
"The analogy of ‘if we build it, they will come’ isn’t necessarily quite right, but it’s a lot better than … trying to go out there looking to attract new business and not being ready for it."
Birkhan said there may be opportunities in value-added agriculture industries, as Brandon is in the centre of an agricultural community.
"That seems to be an area that makes all the sense in the world to look at," he said.
Birkhan said he hopes the chamber will be involved as the city develops the secondary plan to add the "business voice."
"It’s not that we need to drive the process, but we have a tie-in to a lot of our membership and we could hopefully provide a value to this to ultimately satisfy everybody’s best interests," he said.
» Twitter: @jillianaustin
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 16, 2014