Communities can deal with a variety of challenges at different times in their history. By far the most difficult challenge is when a community is losing residents and subsequently businesses or services. Areas that may have at one time relied upon a single industry or major employer that has either left or facing an economic downturn often struggle to attract and retain residents.
That of course is not the current environment in southeastern Manitoba where virtually every community is experiencing growth. While this is a very desirable position for communities to be in, it still presents challenges that need to be met. A quickly increasing population often results in demands for more services and better infrastructure. In Steinbach and surrounding areas, we have seen these needs result in historic announcements and developments.
For example, the newly expanded Resthaven Personal Care Home is providing more rooms for those who need this level of care, right in their home community, in a world class facility. As well, a new dialysis unit will soon open at the Bethesda Regional Healthcare Centre and further expansion is already underway to provide more beds and brand-new surgical suites. Also well under construction is the new southeast event centre which will be the centre piece for events in the region for many years to come.
And as families come to a community, the pressure grows on schools to be able to accommodate new students. As Education Minister in 2018, I was pleased to be able to announce the $4.2 million expansion of the Mitchell Elementary School which was completed a couple of years later. At that time, we knew further expansion would be needed to the Mitchell Middle School. Last week, I joined with Education Minister Wayne Ewasko, Reeve Jim Funk, and Hanover School Trustee Charmaine Toews to officially begin construction on a $3.6 million expansion of the Mitchell Middle School.
These needed expansions are in addition to new schools that have been opened in the southeast. As Education Minister I helped open the new Niverville High School and a short time later announced that Steinbach was in line for a new elementary school.
Just last week, the construction contract was awarded for the nearly $40 million new Steinbach elementary school. This new school is the first new elementary school built in Steinbach in many years and will serve the community and families for many years to come.
It is an exciting time to be a resident of Steinbach and of southeastern Manitoba. Exceptional growth can bring along with it exceptional challenges, but these challenges are welcomed because they are the result of communities that are vibrant and developing. As new infrastructure is being developed and projects are being built, we can look forward to their completion but most importantly to the memories that will be created when they are filled with students, athletes, and residents.