Keystone Centre to receive significant funding boost

0
685
Photo by Jeremy Champagne (Scramble Studio)

The Manitoba government is investing in stronger communities by supporting services, businesses and infrastructure like the Keystone Centre, which will be receiving up to $7.9 million over the next five years to support a new multi-year sustainability plan and a $3-million grant through the Arts, Culture and Sport in Community (ACSC) Fund, Premier Heather Stefanson announced here today while participating in the annual Royal Manitoba Winter Fair.

“Our government is keen to collaborate with all levels of government, business leaders and our economic development partners to advance key initiatives that will support stronger, more vibrant communities and the continued growth of our economy,” said Stefanson. “The Keystone Centre is the heart of the Westman community and major economic driver for the region. This significant investment will help to ensure the Keystone Centre remains sustainable in the long term so it can continue to attract world-class events and provide ongoing cultural, recreational and economic opportunities for Brandon and the surrounding region.”

The premier noted the $7.9 million in operating and capital support is part of a new $15.9-million five-year funding agreement between the Manitoba government, the Keystone Centre and the City of Brandon.

“Thank you to both the City of Brandon and the Manitoba government for their commitment to this new and increased funding agreement,” said Jeff Schumacher, CEO and general manager, Keystone Centre. “Predictable and dependable funding is key to ensuring the Keystone Centre can continue to serve the community as a first-class destination for both local organizations and events of regional and national significance. As the building approaches 50 years of age, this new funding agreement will empower the Keystone Centre to maintain and improve the facility, ensuring we continue to bring Westman together through sports, banquets, conventions, concerts, fairs, trade shows and provide significant economic impact to the city and the economy.”

The Keystone Centre is a unique multi-functional facility that hosts a variety of local, provincial, national and international events that contribute to the social, recreational, cultural and agricultural fabric of the region. Located on 90 acres in Brandon, the centre offers 540,000 sq.-ft. of multi-use space and hosts hundreds of events annually. Its main 5,102-seat arena, known as Westoba Place, is home to the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League, the annual Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, and contributes millions of dollars in annual economic activity for the province.

“The City of Brandon is pleased to partner with the Manitoba government and contribute almost $8 million toward the Keystone Centre,” said Mayor Jeff Fawcett, City of Brandon. “Today’s joint funding announcement ensures that the Keystone Centre is able to get the upgrades needed to sustain operations for decades to come.”

The Manitoba government’s $3-million ACSC grant will go towards upgrades to the main arena in the Keystone Centre. Three phases of work will include upgrades to air conditioning, washroom renovations including improved accessibility, arena seating, sprinklers, and loading ramp improvements. The total renovation cost is estimated to be approximately $6 million.

“This agreement reinforces the importance of the Keystone Centre as an event venue and an economic driver in our community. It also represents a significant contribution from both the City of Brandon and the Manitoba government to recognize the capital needs that the Keystone Centre currently has and will continue to have into the future,” said Bruce Luebke, board chair, Keystone Centre. “This agreement will give our board of directors and management team the ability to build a robust capital plan for the next five years and to have some certainty when we strategically plan for the Keystone Centre’s future.”

Over 400 projects totaling $50 million were supported through the first round of applications of the ACSC fund in 2022-23, the premier noted.

“Manitoba’s arts, culture and amateur sport organizations are at the heart of our communities and the Keystone Centre exemplifies where that heart resides,” said Stefanson. “Generations of Manitobans have come to this centre to celebrate and experience a sense of community and this funding will allow many more generations to do the same.”

For more information on the ACSC fund, including applications for the second round of $50 million, visit manitoba.ca/acsc.