State Of The City 2021

May 20, 2021

Brandon, MB – Mayor Rick Chrest spoke at Brandon Chamber of Commerce’s virtual event for his 7th State of the City address.  

In opening remarks, Mayor Chrest addressed the perils that our community has faced due to COVID-19. “I’d hope that by today I would get to impart a strong recovery and signals for re-opening just around the corner. However, the Premier announced that they will be announcing further restrictions later today”, notes Chrest. “The impacts here at best troubling and at worst, disastrous. To date, 23 Brandonites have lost their lives to this virus.” 

Mayor Chrest noted that there is light in the tunnel. “Unlike all other lockdowns, we finally have a real, live remedy, and it should be a gamechanger! And that is vaccinations.  I would encourage everyone to get properly informed about the vaccines, and then hopefully choose to get a vaccine as soon as you can. This is our most probable path we have in returning to normalcy.” 

Mayor Chrest also mentioned that Brandon Chamber and their Business Recovery Taskforce has been working with City Council to consider new measures to provide help to small businesses in Brandon to help give people a small hand up! A potential assistance program will be examined in the very near future by City Council. 

Chrest also gave a once-around-the-kitchen overview of the City of Brandon services. Most city operations are “business as usual” for the vast majority of city services. One of the areas that has been most subject to changing public health orders is our Parks & Recreation Services. “Shout out to our staff for meeting the challenge of a constantly moving target.”  

Mayor Chrest was pleased to introduce Mr. Ron Bowles as the new CAO / City Manager. “We look forward to Ron’s experience and fresh set of eyes and seeing him join our most talented group of staff.” Mayor Chrest also extended special thanks to Dean Hammond for steering the ship for 18 months as the Acting City Manager. Mayor Chrest also thanked City Council for their hard work and dedication.

“Brandon has a great number of attributes and positive opportunities”, notes Mayor Chrest. “I couldn’t be prouder to be the Mayor of such an inclusive, loving and progressive community that is so well-equipped with businesses, services, lifestyle amenities, and talented, thoughtful and innovative people.” 

The Mayor also announced he and Council would be discussing the creation of a Downtown Safety and Wellness Task Force that would draw together downtown stakeholders and local service providers. The objective will be to find a path to a better sense of safety downtown while finding better ways of delivering services to vulnerable people. 

Mayor Chrest also noted the variances in tax increases from Brandon, Manitoba, and Winnipeg. Brandon has seen an accumulation of 2.72% over 7 years (0.39% per year average), vs. an inflation of 14.8% for MB, and a cumulate 7-year increase of 16.31% for Winnipeg. 

“Stay safe, stay vigilant, and be extra kind to everyone”, notes Mayor Chrest.