I am very proud to be part of a provincial government that strongly supports investment in Brandon.
Over the past decade, working together with other positive forces in our community, we have completely transformed the Brandon Regional Health Centre; are halfway through the historic redevelopment of Assiniboine Community College on Brandon’s North Hill; have completed the Agricultural Centre of Excellence and hosted the Memorial Cup at the Keystone Centre; have twinned both 18th Street and First Street, as well as continued the investment required to complete the Eastern Access Route; have completed the Health Studies Building at Brandon University and are nearing completion on the new Healthy Living Centre; have supported the funding of our Wastewater Treatment Plant, our Assiniboine River dikes and other civic infrastructure; have funded the Brandon Neighbourhood Renewal Corp. and partnered with the City of Brandon to fund Renaissance Brandon; have completed the development of several hundred affordable housing units, with more to come; have increased property tax credits by nearly 300 per cent; have eliminated the small business tax; have directly funded police and fire protective services; have led investment in the soon-to-be-completed Brandon Family YMCA; have been central to the development of the Kristopher Campbell Memorial Skate Park; and have embarked upon numerous other initiatives, both big and small, which have helped to make Brandon an even better place to live for all people.
Indeed, we have invested more than $1 billion in Brandon since coming to office, the largest such sustained investment by a provincial government in the history of our community.
While it is a central priority for me to bring provincial investment to Brandon, such work is never done alone or in isolation. Community philanthropy plays a very important role in supporting our investment, and I would like to make specific mention of a few examples which deserve special praise at this time.
Gord and Diane Peters and their team working to “restore the glory” at Display Building No. 2, must be commended for stepping-up to make a positive difference in our community. The Dome Building, as it is popularly known, is a provincial and national historic site, one of very few Beaux Arts exhibition pavilions remaining in the world. When completed, the structure will be a destination location for cultural tourism and will house offices for the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba, an agricultural museum and be headquarters for other agricultural organizations.
At the Brandon Regional Health Centre, the Brandon Hospital Foundation team led by Kerry Auriat and Karen Chrest is raising funds for the completion of Murray House, a “home away from home” for those families availing themselves of the medical services provided by the recently completed Western Manitoba Cancer Treatment Centre. Building on the generous original contribution made by the Murray family, this campaign is nearing a successful conclusion and will make an extraordinarily positive difference to the lives of many in western Manitoba for decades to come.
The Kille brothers, Don and Ron, also merit specific mention for their hard work to raise funds for the completion of the Dood Cristall Family YMCA. As this community facility continues to be built, assisting in the transformation of our historic downtown, those of us with an abiding interest in improving the quality of life for all people in Brandon anticipate the development of new daycare spaces, increased recreational opportunities and a vital new community hub in our core area.
From the recent generosity of the Mazer family in ensuring a home for New Hope Equine Ministries, to the corporate citizenship of Landmark Cinemas of Canada in sustaining the historic Strand Theatre for future development as a multi-purpose community performance arts centre, to every single Brandon citizen who graciously contributes towards building positive change in our community, our gratitude as a province is profound. Without the generosity and positive contributions of so many, our city would be greatly diminished.
When voices of negativity seek to ridicule or undermine projects or individuals who are working to make Brandon a better community, it is worthwhile to remind ourselves that by working together in a spirit of goodwill we are building a truly great city.
NDP Brandon East MLA
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 18, 2012