Springfield Community Recreation Centre benefits from funding


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An announcement of $4.7 million for the planned Springfield Community Recreation Centre was announced by the province on March 17, and in Oakbank on March 18.

The funds will go towards an ambitious plan to create 71,300 sq. ft. of indoor recreation space including an artificial turf field, hardcourt gymnasium, dressing rooms, concourse with café, and a running track.

It would also include parking for 350 vehicles with a nearby greenspace providing overflow parking for 200 more, a walking path, picnic shelter, and toboggan hill.

GREG VANDERMEULEN THE CARILLON Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Obby Khan.

A splash pad, skateboard park and playground have already been installed on the site near the municipal office on Provincial Road 206.

The funding announcement was part of a $50 million provincial announcement that saw more than 400 community arts, culture and sports projects benefit.

In the Southeast, close to $7 million was given out to about 25 organizations.

MLA for Springfield-Ritchot, Ron Schuler was joined by Obby Khan, minister of sport, culture and heritage to make a pair of announcements in Oakbank and Ste Agathe on Saturday.

Schuler said he’s been promoting this project for the last 23 years as MLA, working with six Springfield mayors along the way.

GREG VANDERMEULEN THE CARILLON RM of Springfield Mayor Patrick Therrien

“We’ve seen other communities get their sports-plexes,” he said. “We’ve seen them get their funding and have always been kind and supportive.”

Khan described arts, culture and sports as “the backbone of every solid community” adding he was please to make the announcement.

The road towards getting a new recreation centre has been long for the RM of Springfield, a process that Schuler described as often “ugly” as the public weighed in.

“This has been 25 years in the making,” Mayor Patrick Therrien said. “We need a centre where we can all congregate as a community.”

“We’re ecstatic to get this grant,” he added.

GREG VANDERMEULEN THE CARILLON Springfield-Ritchot MLA Ron Schuler speaks to grant recipients in Oakbank.

Shawn Wilkinson, director of community services for the RM of Springfield said this funding is welcome.

The project was estimated to cost $19 million in February of 2020, and Wilkinson said they haven’t updated those numbers yet.

“We have to work through that process,” he said.

The RM is also still hopeful they will be considered for ICIP (Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program) funding. They had applied for $12.4 million but have yet to be approved.

“We’re just waiting for the application to be reviewed,” he said.

GREG VANDERMEULEN THE CARILLON Springfield-Ritchot MLA Ron Schuler, RM of Springfield Mayor Patrick Therrien and Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Obby Khan with the site plan for the new facility.

Wilkinson has been in his current position for 13 years and is very familiar with the project.

“This is the first project I started with 13 years ago, and it’s kind of nice to see this day,” he said. “This is a game-changer for the community. This is going to bring the community together.”

There are no dates set for the beginning of construction or completion of the project at this time.

Additional projects

Although the $4.7 million grant for Springfield was the largest one announced for Southeast Manitoba, there are many more that will benefit from this program.

GREG VANDERMEULEN THE CARILLON Obby Khan, minister of sport culture and heritage autographs a sign in the Ste Agathe Arena after he and Springfield-Ritchot MLA Ron Schuler and others in the audience coloured in the space to show how far fundraising had progressed toward their new ice plant.

The RM of De Salaberry will get $700,000 for the second phase of their arena renovation, the RM of La Broquerie will get $650,000 for arena ice plant efficiency enhancements, Ste Agathe will get $300,000 for a new ice plant, and the Otterburne Curling Club will get $132,500 for an insulation upgrade in the rink area.

Other recipients include $18,500 for the St Adolphe Sports Centre camera systems and television installation, $15,000 for facility improvements to Club IDC, $7,500 for the Grande Pointe Homeowners Association for sport field development, $15,000 for Corporation du Site Historique Monseigneur – Tache for an indoor/outdoor site plan, $25,000 for the Manitoba Horse Council for equestrian facility rehabilitation, $25,000 for the Midwinter Heritage Association in East Braintree for an electric panel, well and septic tank upgrade, $24,960 for Seine River Minor Baseball for field and facility improvements, $25,000 for the Sprague and District Historical Museum Indigenous exhibit building construction, $25,000 for the Mennonite Heritage Village’s exhibit infrastructure enhancement, $25,000 for the Springfield Polo Club’s polo pavilion construction, $25,000 for the Steinbach Arts Counc9l building revitalization, $39,320 for a new chiller at the Dufrost Curling Club, $25,000 for the Sunrise Performing Arts Centre of Excellence, $25,000 for a meeting room at the Jake Epp Library, $20,000 for an international tournament at the Springfield Polo Club, $25,000 for starting block upgrades for the Steinbach Skimmers speed swimming, $25,000 for Tolstoi Holy Trinity Church Historical Society, $25,000 for the Bibliotheque Regionale Jolys Regional Library for an accessible gathering space, $24,800 for the Mennonite Heritage Village’s All My Relations initiative and $11,870 for the Steinbach Curling Club’s new ice scraper.

Khan said the new fund was very popular.

“There were over 800 applications,” he said. “We were over subscribed to the extent of $300 million. That’s how much money was needed, and we only had $50 million.

In response the province opened up a second intake, adding $16 million for additional projects. Applications are due between April 17 and June 15, depending on the type of project.

GREG VANDERMEULEN THE CARILLON Springfield-Ritchot MLA Ron Schuler looks on as a child helps colour in the fundraising update.

Funds were also appreciated by Ste Agathe Arena Board president Josh Pawluk.

He said fundraising for their $750,000 project to replace the ice plant in 2024 only began a month ago. Before Friday’s announcement they had about $300,000 committed.

Pawluk said they’re expecting to raise more funds from the community and are planning a social for May 13 at the arena.

RM of La Verendrye MLA Dennis Smook issued a press release highlighting the projects that had funding approved in his constituency.

“These projects are directly enhancing the community spaces that you and your family use and enjoy,” he said in Tuesday press release. “La Verendrye is receiving over $1.5 million across our communities in new funding.”

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