The Mayor of Portage la Prairie says she was excited to be part of the announcement on Tuesday about the $1.9 billion Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) facility to be built in Poplar Bluff Industrial Park just west of Portage. 

Sharilyn Knox says a great commitment has been made from the province with the funding provided to go ahead with the engineering study at the tune of $2.9 million.

"We're just so grateful that Azure is choosing Portage to move forward," says Knox. "Did you hear the point of 150 long-term jobs for our community? We're not talking minimum-wage jobs. We're talking skilled jobs. That's just going to change things for our landscape, for our people, and just improve our quality of life here in Portage."

Training will be provided for skilled workers.

"We're working very closely together on this project. We meet with Azure regularly. When I talk about concierge service, that means that we're bringing in all the partners necessary. So, it means we're bringing in our educational institutions and housing to figure out how we get our city and region ready. Obviously, it's going to be situated in the RM of Portage, but the whole thing is a regional project."

Knox says they first-ever met with Azure about the project back in December 2021.

Portage la Prairie Reeve Kam Blight says the RM council is also tremendously excited to see this announcement and moving ahead to the next phase. 

"We're extremely grateful for all the hard work from our internal investment team, the province of Manitoba, and the great individuals at Azure. There's been a lot of work that's been put into place for the last two years, and to see it come to this point is tremendously exciting. And this is something that truly does fit with our vision."

Blight notes they're thrilled to see the prospects of this locating in the RM of Portage la Prairie, and the other spin-offs that may be involved. 

"It's definitely going to be a boom for agriculture in our community in so many different ways," says Blight. "We're just tremendously excited and certainly value the relationship that we have with the City of Portage and the province of Manitoba."

He adds it's another reward for the great relationship between the RM and City. 

"We're super appreciative of that, we value it, and we do not take it for granted. We believe in our region. We believe in the people in our area. We're just trying to provide an opportunity for everyone and, with opportunity, comes hope. I think we're doing just that and we're very excited for the future of this region."

Peggy MayPeggy May

Southport Aerospace Centre.CEO Peggy May is surrounded by aviation and adds they're a certified Canada Airport.

"I think Canada has a plan to use sustainable fuels in the future. So, we're certainly going to follow this opportunity with great interest. I'm really excited about the opportunity that this is presenting for Portage.

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