The southeast region is known as a growing region with a strong economy. This has been a longstanding reputation as, for many years, people have recognized the communities of the region as great places to live, invest and raise their families. While this continues today, there is a special feeling that we are experiencing a time of positive transformation with several generational projects becoming a reality in the region.
This can be seen in a number of places, beginning in downtown Steinbach where more than $130 million of construction is currently underway. The new Southeast Event Centre is now beginning to take shape and will be a place where residents from around the region can gather for special events, concerts and to cheer on their favorite local team. The need for a new event centre and arena has been talked about for many decades and I was pleased to be able to announce provincial support for the project during my tenure as Deputy Premier. But ultimately, this is a project that is made possible because of private support and community champions.
Just a block away from the event centre construction, the expansion of the Bethesda Regional Health Centre is now well underway. This expansion will not only provide new bed space for the hospital, but also create three new operating theatres to replace the aging operating unit at Bethesda. In addition, the new dialysis unit at Bethesda is ready to be opened soon. The expanded Bethesda Hospital project was one I was honoured to announce while serving as the interim Premier in the fall of 2021. The combination of these projects, which total nearly $100 million in investments in healthcare, will help to ensure that services are available closer to home. It was also heartening to hear local physician, Dr. Denis Fortier, refer to the new physician’s services agreement as “remarkable” and important to both physician recruitment and retention in Manitoba.
These healthcare investments are part of a continuum of care for the region. They come in addition to the recently opened expanded Rest Haven Personal Care home, which has quickly become a model of personal care in the province. For many years, local residents advocated for these new PCH beds. As Health Minister, I was honoured to work alongside the Bethesda Foundation to make this needed project a reality for residents of our region.
There is also significant development happening in education. A new elementary school, the first in many years for Steinbach, is currently under construction. This is one of the new schools that, as Education Minister in 2019, I was pleased to announce. This new elementary school will support the new and growing families within the city. In addition, the expansion of the Mitchell Middle School is also under construction. The growing community of Mitchell also recently received $400,000 in support for their arena as the need for recreation opportunities continues to grow throughout the region.
These are just a few of the projects that are completed or underway in the region. Many of the projects have been years in the making. There is much to be optimistic about in southeast Manitoba as we undergo a significant time of transformation and growth. And there is every reason to believe that our communities will remain among the best places to live in the country.