Three years after Brandon Fire and Emergency Services moved out of the fire hall on Princess Avenue, the building still sits empty.
As the dog days of summer drift on by and children throughout Westman head back to school, I thought this may be an opportunity to shake up the column this week and do a bit of housecleaning while dreaming of all the sunny locales I can venture to thanks to our shiny new airline service.
Brandon Transit kicks off its trial run of Sunday bus service tomorrow. (FILE PHOTO)
Much of my time as a columnist has been spent following the happenings in this city, and many of those offerings have garnered feedback from all walks of life.
I have been penning "As I See It" for a little more than a year, and it has been an amazing experience participating in a discussion on what makes Brandon tick.
The opportunity also allows me to share a bit of a wish list I have received through emails and feedback thus far.
First off, it has to be mentioned air service was a huge score for our city administration.
For a group that has seen its share of bumps and bruises over the past number of years, the smiling faces and arms raised at the podium washed away a bit of that stress that undoubtedly was wearing on many over on Ninth Street, and for our collective conscience this is a good thing.
So now that the flight path is a go with WestJet and the ball is in our court to support the service, here are some other wishes that have come in as a result of feedback on this column.
Some may be right on the money or out in the field as you sip coffee on a Saturday morning.
One that comes up more and more in the feedback I have received is moving to a singular large museum space for Westman, a space that encompasses the history of this area in one location.
The thought process of many is that it would attract more in one locale than a collection of smaller locations.
I’m not sure whether that is truly the case, but it does have some merit as a destination and a tourist draw.
Museums are a pricey venture no doubt, and many see the merit of a single larger venture as being more cost-effective in the long run.
With that said, I still prefer some of the unique corners smaller museums provide. But the idea for a larger facility does have some merit, so consider this a bit of the community thinking out loud.
Another item that pops up repeatedly is what is happening with the old fire hall.
The building, as we all know, is not getting any younger, and time has been rough on the structure in the last few years.
Many suggestions have come forward, including the aforementioned museum space or the brew-pub concept that passed over the desks of city administration and council earlier this year.
I still believe the brew-pub concept is good for that location. It’s an idea that worked well in Kenora with the Lake of the Woods Brewing Company project, albeit that example benefited from a couple million dollars of capital funds in the kitty before approaching the purchase of the building.
The Brewtinerie model, as it was presented, obviously was not what folks around the city tables were looking for. But toss a bigger pocket in the mix and the group may be onto something.
Unfortunately, I’m not one of those big pockets. But as mentioned before, I would pony up plenty as a patron, and I’m sure many others in this community would do the same.
One of the most divisive items was the highly contentious mention of Sunday bus service. This one drew the ire of some and the praise of others.
The question that continues to be raised out of this granted wish is what the final bill will be on the pilot project outside of projected numbers, and whether ridership will return the dollars that go into the service.
This one I leave up to the riders to prove there should be permanent Sunday bus service. But my two cents worth is still that it is a service provided to residents and business owners in this community and a smaller price to pay to expand the opportunities for those who would use it.
All in all, this is a small collection of a few wishes from a city that had a big wish come true this week.
Other honourable mentions include a water park destination venue, more affordable housing, a railroad underpass so the city isn’t divided, another big-box retailer — and most of all the hope a television station would put Westman on the map once again.
Considering how CKX came to an end, it shows many still wear that heart firmly on their sleeve for what TV meant to this community and its residents who, like those wishing for air service, never gave up on the hope that somehow it would be saved.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 6, 2013