Fundraisers for the Restoring the Glory Display Building No. 2 project paid Brandon City Council a visit on Monday to present a progress report and a request for cash.
The restoration project is estimated to cost $7.2 million, of which just under $3 million has been raised through a combination of private and public sector donors, said Gord Peters, who with Dianne Peters is co-chairing the fundraising campaign.
“Both the provincial and federal governments have put in just under a million dollars each,” Peters said as he made his request for civic funding of the project. “We are in discussions with the provincial and federal governments and there will be discussions in the coming months.”
Peters said he now expects the anticipated need for $7.2 million will be reduced because of efficient spending.
“We will be coming in under budget on the whole thing,” Peters said. “Especially in light of a historic building, I dare say there have been many groups that have failed to bring a project in under cost. We anticipate that because we’ve had good management.”
Brandon’s Display Building No. 2 is one of the only surviving building in Canada from the Dominion Fairs program built between 1879-1913, said Karen Oliver, the CEO of the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba. That fact has ensured the building has federal and provincial heritage designations. With the required support, the building can be opened in 2013, which is the 100th anniversary of the building’s construction, Oliver said.
“We will have an experiential agricultural museum on site and that will be a place where families can learn about agriculture in a hands-on way,” Oliver said. “We will make it a tourist attraction that will change on a seasonal basis and will be a great addition to the community. The finished building will also have a park surrounding it, which we hope is a hub of agricultural activity.”
Oliver said the windows have been restored through volunteer labour and materials from the Commonwealth Air Training Program Museum, and the building is ready for insulation. Tenders have been issued for the exterior siding work that is scheduled to be complete in March.
Peters said he recognized the city has financial challenges, but noted that the accommodations tax could provide the city with revenue that could be donated to this project. He also noted the Provincial Exhibition’s annual $15-million economic impact to the city shows that it is a major economic engine for the area and is worthy of support.
“I think you’d be hard pressed to say that the Provincial Ex hasn’t done its job to bring people here,” Peters said. “This is one step that’s critical for the Provincial Ex to move into offices that are befitting its royal designation. We want to provide some class to the Provincial Exhibition. We have to get them back on the grounds where they belong.”
City councillors voted to receive the report provided as information, without committing to donate funds.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 19, 2012