I am writing this letter today just to make the people of Westman aware of the facility that we have in the Keystone Centre.
As a major economic driver for the City of Brandon and southwestern Manitoba, this facility is second to none in Manitoba and among the top few in Canada.
I am very proud to be the chair of the Keystone Centre board of directors, a volunteer board that puts in many hours of dedicated service to the facility and community.
With the best interest in hand we make decisions that affect the facility and the community which are not always taken well but are what is best at the time. Over the period since the Keystone came into being, which by the way is now 40 years, there have been many changes to buildings and to the grounds but what has stayed constant is the need for municipal and government funding.
Over the last year, as the Brandon Sun has reported, we, for the first time in many years, have made an actual operating profit — slight as it is, we are moving in the right direction.
This profit does not include the many capital projects that are required to bring this aging facility to the point that we do not need to worry about the roof leaking in City Square or Exhibition Hall or the ice plant breaking down in the middle of a Wheat Kings hockey game.
I have seen many complaints about leaky roofs or holes in parking lots or other areas in varying degrees of disrepair, it is not our desire to have this but we need to prioritize what gets fixed and what doesn’t given our very limited resources.
Our goal which we have presented to the city administration and the provincial government is to have an ongoing contribution from both parties so that our facilities do not get to the levels of disrepair that we have seen in the past.
As has been reported, recently funding from the three levels of government is anticipated, but that is still only a drop in the bucket. The actual needs in the very near future above this pending announcement is in the range of $5 million, which will fix a couple of roofs that are in such a strategic area that it could jeopardize events like the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, Manitoba Ag Days and the most recently acquired Royal Arabian & Half Arabian Championships.
The Keystone board has the opportunity to have two Brandon University professors — one of which is a board member — engage in an economic impact survey on the Keystone Centre and its events. Upon completion of this survey, I’m sure we will be amazed as to the impact of the Keystone Centre in this community.
When it comes time for city budget deliberations and the provincial budget, if you are able to speak in favour of funding for the Keystone capital projects, please make the mayor, your councillor, MLA or MP aware of your feelings.
This funding is imperative to the maintenance, let alone the growth of this facility and the community.
JOHN MACIALEK, chair
Keystone Centre board of directors
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 19, 2012