Annual Mayoral State of the City Address Applauds ‘Made in Brandon’ Municipal Innovation

March 9, 2017


Brandon, MB – Brandon Mayor Rick Chrest encouraged innovation from within to keep Brandon growing during his third annual State of the City Address to the Brandon Chamber of Commerce this afternoon.

In an address given to the Brandon Chamber of Commerce membership during its March luncheon event, Chrest noted that with senior levels of government now concentrating more on deficit management, municipalities across Canada need to prepare themselves for a period of innovation, where self-reliance, solid project planning and phasing, and flexibility will be key to their continued growth.

“Innovation is the lifeblood of most contemporary organizations, but too often, the rallying cry of such becomes ‘think outside the box!’, and I think that phrase can sometimes become an overused cliché. More often, what we need to be doing is ‘thinking inside the box’ and fostering innovation from within,” Mayor Chrest stated. “At the municipal level, thinking inside the box, we are finding ways of leveraging our assets to create greater assets.”

Chrest noted several tangible examples of this innovation already in use in Brandon, including City Council’s strategic decision to sell off a small portion of the Wheat City Golf Course & Recreation Centre land for commercial development and use the proceeds to ensure the golf course’s continued viability as a public recreation asset. He also spoke of the municipality’s recent move to sell two underutilized City-owned properties in the heart of the downtown to Brandon University to allow the post-secondary institution to pursue vital downtown development.

The Mayor also pointed to the careful work of Economic Development Brandon to foster and encourage existing business scale-ups and expansions, rather than a sole focus on landing new businesses. He further noted that the City of Brandon is approaching the various pressures related to population growth, new infrastructure, a burgeoning cultural fabric, and an expanding socio-economic reality with an innovative energy of which it should be proud.

“Brandon, for its modest size, is exceptionally well-positioned to welcome a significant influx of new cultures, new investors, new workers, and new professionals. Our welcome mat is out, our arms are open and we are experienced and buoyed by the foundation of cultural leaders already well-established in our community,” he said.

In addition to highlighting a number of completed or soon-to-be-completed capital projects that will enhance Brandon’s quality-of-life, Chrest’s comments also focused on City Council’s responsible fiscal decision-making process during its time so far in office.

“In its three budgets, this Council has delivered a total municipal tax increase of 1.66% against a three-year Manitoba inflation rate of 5%. We stand at precisely one-third of inflation for three years, a record that I believe is a great selling feature in our work to attract new businesses and residents to Brandon,” he said.

“I’m proud to report that this Council, supported by our professional management and staff, continues to work in a constructive, collegial, collaborative fashion and, while we have a significant diversity of points of view and perhaps political ideology, everyone has the overall best interest of the City at heart,” Chrest concluded.

Video of Mayor Chrest’s 2017 State of the City Address will be available to the public online in the near future.