Mosquitoes, Keystone Centre up for discussion at city hall

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Following complaints from constituents, Coun. Shaun Cameron said he will be bringing up the topic of mosquito abatement at Monday’s Brandon City Council meeting during the councillor inquiries portion.

Brandonites have taken to social media this week to complain about swarms of the insects flying around after last week’s heavy rains and subsequent heat.

Recent mosquito trap counts in the city have been below the threshold it requires to start mosquito fogging. However, Cameron said he will start a discussion on whether measures should be taken anyway.

Counts are performed by the city on weekends, with results typically being sent out the Tuesday afterwards.

In the most recent results sent out by the city from July 4 and 5, the city considered the average of 60 to 61 mosquitoes per trap as being in the medium range of severity but below the threshold.

The city’s release on trap counts from July 7 said that municipal staff have been using larvicide on areas of standing water.

Meanwhile at Monday’s Brandon City Council meeting, Keystone Centre chair Matt Bolley and general manager Jeff Schumacher will present a fiscal update for the facility showing that losses of revenue around $1.5 million are expected between August and December of this year.

A copy of the presentation’s slides published on the City of Brandon’s website shows that Keystone Centre has already sustained $1.7 million in loss of revenue since the COVID-19 pandemic started and events started being cancelled.

Events the venue has had to cancel include the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, the end of the Brandon Wheat Kings season, the Brandon Chamber of Commerce awards gala, and concerts from ZZ Top, High Valley, the Saints and Sinners tour and Baby Shark Live.

However, the venue has been able to reopen in a limited capacity recently, holding events such as high school graduation ceremonies for Vincent Massey High School, École secondaire Neelin High School and the Manitoba Metis Federation last month.

Speaking to the Sun Friday afternoon, Schumacher said that the end of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will be difficult for the Keystone, especially as many staff have either been laid off or have had their work schedules cut back.

He hopes that the 2020-21 WHL season will be able to take place, even with a reduced capacity.

The general manager continues to be on calls with venue coalitions and representatives from entertainment companies such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship as the industry continues to figure out how to host events in arenas in a post-COVID world.

“It’s pretty neat when you can actually talk to people who have already done or are right in the middle of doing things during this pandemic,” he said. “It’s all about us educating each other so we can reopen, be safe, get our fans in the right mindset that they feel safe coming back.”

He said it will be health departments in jurisdictions around the world who will ultimately determine what venues can do.

“We can do all this planning, but we can only move as far as the health department allows us,” he said. “The province is driving what we can do. In Manitoba, we’ve been lucky comparatively.”

In preparation for hosting more and bigger events, an order has been placed by the venue for sanitization equipment.

The last time the Sun spoke to Schumacher, he said touring acts would likely only get restarted in the new year. At this point, he believes that would happen next summer at the earliest, with some things being delayed until October 2021.

According to Schumacher, the Keystone Centre received only minor water damage during the recent heavy storms. A need to replace the building’s roof has been identified in its capital plan for several years.

» cslark@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @ColinSlark Source Link: The Brandon Sun

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