BRANDON—The Manitoba government is providing funding to the Keystone Centre to ensure it can continue to serve as Westman’s leading event destination, Premier Brian Pallister announced here today.
“We made this commitment for the Keystone Centre to remain a valuable multi-use facility that brings quality of life to Westman and economic activity in the region for years to come,” said Pallister. “Our investment will place the centre on a solid footing to develop a sustainability plan that addresses its long-term needs, while maintaining the services we all enjoy at this important public facility.”
The premier confirmed the $2.9-million investment will retire all of the Keystone Centre’s current debt including its outstanding mortgage. As a result, the centre will realize savings of more than $300,000 annually, allowing more funds to be redirected toward capital infrastructure projects, he said.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to see the province’s very impactful contribution to the Keystone Centre,” said Mayor Rick Chrest, City of Brandon. “Our partnership in this facility, spanning almost 50 years, is a tremendous example of positive collaboration and co-operation between our two levels of government and this is truly a big lift for one of Manitoba’s most prominent facilities.”
Chrest noted that in its respective 2019 budget, Brandon city council has committed $875,000 in operating and capital contributions to the Keystone Centre, as well as an additional $140,000 in the form of a continued tax-offsetting grant for one of the Keystone Centre’s property tenants.
The province is also endorsing recommendations from an external governance review done by MNP in 2016. A new governance approach will clarify roles and responsibilities, and empower the board of directors to govern the Keystone Centre. It will also reduce red tape and enable the centre to be more nimble, and advance opportunities for fiscal sustainability, the premier noted.
“Today’s announcement is a recognition of the importance of the Keystone Centre to the province of Manitoba, both as an economic driver, and a recreation and agricultural hub,” said Matt Bolley, chair, board of directors, Keystone Centre. “The debt relief being provided by the provincial government will assist in our efforts to retain the Keystone Centre’s status as a world-class venue, while ensuring that our facilities remain accessible for all members of the community.”
The Keystone Centre is a multi-functional, community-focused facility, which hosts numerous sporting and entertainment events, fairs and agricultural exhibitions and conferences, and is a significant part of the City of Brandon and the surrounding area’s economy.
“The Keystone Centre is a hub for agriculture and hosts major events that bring our industry together,” said Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler. “We recognize the important economic and social contribution the centre makes to the agriculture industry in our province and this investment ensures it will remain a home for the agriculture industry.”
The Keystone Centre is located on 90 acres in Brandon, offers 540,000 square feet of multi-use space and hosts more than 1,500 events annually. These activities contribute to the social, recreational, cultural and agricultural fabric of the area, and is one of Westman’s largest economic catalysts, generating over $62 million in annual economic activity for the region.