• City council received an audit and finance committee update from Dean Hammond, city treasurer and general manager of corporate services. Hammond updated council that there was a projected surplus in the General Fund of approximately $990,000 following completion of the September budget review.
Hammond said it’s hoped the surplus can be maintained as the city moves toward the budget year-end. The Utility Fund also has a projected surplus of $333,955 due largely to the mild weather early in the year and increased water consumption revenues.
• Hammond also noted that the 2010 financial statements are currently with the auditor, with an unaudited surplus of $1.8 million. The 2011 financial statements, which are anticipated to be revenue neutral, will be sent to the auditor’s shortly. The full report of the audit and finance committee can be found at the city’s website.
• South Centre ward Coun. Garth Rice provided a verbal update on behalf of the Keystone Centre board of directors, which reported at its recent annual general meeting that the facility posted a small year-end profit of approximately $30,000. Rice also noted that ticket sales are moving along well for a trio of larger concert events that are being presented by the Keystone Centre in 2013.
• Assiniboine ward Coun. Jeff Fawcett also provided a brief verbal report on behalf of the Western Manitoba Centennial Auditorium board of directors. Fawcett reported that up to Nov. 1, the auditorium had been used 144 days this year.
• A brief verbal update on behalf of the poverty committee was provided by Green Acres ward Coun. Jan Chaboyer, who reported that its focus in the year ahead will remain on the provision of low-income housing and fresh food for those living in poverty, as well as discussions around the funding challenges being experienced by the proponents of the 7th Street Health Access Centre in the city’s downtown.
• City council voted 6-to-5 to accept the proposal from Vionell Holdings Ltd. for the purchase and development of the former Brandon Police Service building and associated lands at 1340 10th Street for $1.04 million, plus GST, plus the site’s generator for $10,000, plus taxes. The property will be used to build a 122-unit, life lease assisted living senior’s facility, prior to which the company must complete a Phase 1 environmental assessment on the site at its own cost. During the extensive debate on the issue, a number of council members noted their disappointment that the proposal did not meet the community’s need for affordable housing.
• City council approved an amendment of the list of next year’s city council meeting dates to reflect a 2013 meeting date of Aug. 19 instead of Aug. 12.
• City council approved various council appointments for the coming year, including deputy mayor: South Centre ward Coun. Garth Rice and acting deputy mayor: Riverview ward Coun. Len Isleifson.
• Council gave final approval to an amendment of Zoning Bylaw No. 6642 to allow for a minimum 4.5-metre rear yard separation between mobile homes. The change allows for greater rear yard flexibility when new mobile homes are placed in a mobile home park on common property.
• City council granted municipal heritage site status for the property at 1037 Lorne Ave., owned privately by Randal Kurtenbach and Calvin Doherty. The building, commonly known as the former First Baptist Church, is interesting both architecturally and historically. The former First Baptist Church was built by one of Brandon’s most famous and celebrated architects W.A. Elliot. With an estimated date of construction of 1905, the Tudor-style church has been a landmark of the neighbourhood for 107 years.
• A bylaw to authorize the expenditure and borrowing of money for construction costs of 14th Street south of Richmond Avenue as a local improvement was approved, with minor wording amendments. The local improvement levy, proportionally valued at $385,000, would be levied against the owner of the property at 1550 Richmond Ave. East.
• Final approval was given to a bylaw establishing a Police Board and its membership within the city of Brandon. The creation of such a board by Dec. 1 is a requirement of the provincial Police Services Act. The board will consist of: the mayor of the City of Brandon and one member of Brandon City Council; the city manager of the City of Brandon; a person appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council; and three people who reside in, are employed in or have a business interest in Brandon.
• First reading was given to a bylaw to rezone property located at 1406 Lorne Ave. from RLD Residential Low Density Multiple Family Zone to RMD Residential Moderate Density Multiple Family Zone to allow the proponent, Crofton Properties Ltd, to construct an eight-dwelling condo complex.