Brandon City Council sent a message to the Keystone Centre’s leadership group on Monday after an unanimous approval of a motion calling for more permanent funding arrangements for the facility.
“I was pleased with the vote and for the way council spoke so dearly about the Keystone Centre,” said Coun. Garth Rice (South Centre) after leading the charge for more funding.
“We all know what that means for our community. Now it’s time for the leadership group to actually back its capital plan. It’s been a three-year hiatus from that plan and it’s been in place. It’s just that they haven’t contributed to the needs of that building for the last three years. We are seeing a huge capital deficit now.”
Rice estimated the infrastructure deficit for the facility is $10 million, which is why on June 25, Rice, a Keystone Centre board member along with Coun. Shawn Berry (Linden Lanes), informed council of his intent to introduce a motion regarding funding for the Keystone Centre.
“We know of other facilities that have secured funding arrangements,” Rice said. “We don’t, so this is a step in the right direction.”
Coun. Stephen Montague (Richmond) said he was puzzled that the Winnipeg Convention Centre could get $150 million for an expansion project when the Keystone Centre has to go “cap-in-hand” to the provincial government to get its needs met.
“It’s frustrating that Winnipeg doesn’t even have a plan and they get commitments for $150 million,” Montague said.
“We have concrete plans for our capital needs and we can’t even get $5 million. Cabinet ministers are here when it’s time to cut ribbons, but when it’s time to fund this centre, they’re not there.
“The Keystone Centre is a major economic driver for this city.”
Coun. Jeff Harwood (University) added his frustrations to the debate.
“It seems when any much-needed repairs have to be dealt with, we have to go to Winnipeg and beg,” Harwood said. “It shouldn’t be that hard.”
Coun. Murray Blight (Victoria) said while the motion is a good step, it comes down to how involved the Keystone Centre’s leadership group wants to be.
“We need to make it understood what the direction is on this,” Blight said.
Mayor Shari Decter Hirst added as one-third of the leadership group, she can emphasize the importance of having one of the three partners step up with support.
Rice added that the failure to deal with leaking roofs and crumbing infrastructure is now affecting the bottom line.
“The amphitheatre has been a wet storage area for two years now,” Rice deadpanned.
While Brandon City Council voted 11-0 in favour of the motion of support, it did not make any funding promises of its own during the debate.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 10, 2012