With the right hands supporting it, Brandon's downtown can continue its transformation into the city's "shining star," the newest council candidate for the Rosser ward says.
In officially announcing his intentions to seek the council seat being vacated by two-term councillor Vince Barletta, downtown business owner Corey Roberts pledged to build the city through "conversation and action."
"If things happen the right ways, the core and the Rosser ward can be Brandon's shining star," he told reporters following his announcement early yesterday afternoon. "It's going to take time, commitment and the vision of people that say 'Y'know what? Give it a chance and let it happen.'"
After purchasing the former Miss Q's pool hall on Princess Avenue several years ago and transforming it into the popular Clancy's Eatery and Drinkery, Roberts said he now knows how important all types of development are to a downtown's success.
"It's not re-inventing the wheel, it's taking things that work elsewhere and trying to make them work for our downtown," he said, adding that he sees the creation of housing for all income levels and dealing with the public's perception of downtown crime as the core's main issues.
But some of the larger issues that need attention are ones that have already been dealt with by the current incarnation of city council, he noted. The fallout from decisions like the new fire hall's location or the final price tag of the new police station need greater transparency moving forward.
"Now that decisions have been made to do these things and people still have concerns with them, we have to show that there is a viable way of operating ... to find the solutions to those problems (and) that we really can't do a whole lot about what's happened in the past, but move forward."
Roberts currently serves as downtown revitalization group Renaissance Brandon's vice-chair, alongside chair Vince Barletta.
Barletta sat next to Roberts during his news conference and says while the business owner has not officially asked for his endorsement, he is certainly a candidate he's willing to support.
"I'm thrilled to see Corey throw his hat in the ring," Barletta told the Sun. "He's been tremendous to work with and has been a great asset in the downtown. I think we can see from the business he's established (in the downtown) that he's someone who knows how to get things done in the downtown and I think that's the kind of energy that we need going forward as a city."
Also present at Roberts' announcement were Brandon East NDP MLA Drew Caldwell and his wife, Shandra MacNeill, Richmond ward council candidate Stephen Montague and downtown business owners Murray Hurl and Martin Dupuis.
Roberts joins Brandon University employee Darlene Paquette as the only declared candidates for Rosser ward.
However, individuals interested in running for a seat on city council cannot officially begin campaigning until June 30.