Portage la Prairie Mayor Irvine Ferris attended the July 18th Rotary Club meeting to discuss how the year has gone to date for the city and what's coming up.

Keeping in mind that the Rotary calendar is a little different than most, as it starts on July 1st and ends on June 30th. Ferris shares highlights from this past year, including the progress of the Saskatchewan Ave West project, as well as how departments of the city dealt with COVID-19 and the return to normal operations.

Ferris shines some light on what this current year might hold.

"As far as investment goes, businesses are interested in establishing in the area. There are also the challenges of the huge job losses from the provincial government. Challenges like managing climate change and that kind of thing, but certainly the feeling is that we have far more opportunities ahead of us."

The mayor shares that this Friday, July 22nd, the Agassiz Youth Centre will officially close its doors with 110 jobs leaving Portage for Winnipeg.

"That will have a major impact on the community," says Ferris regarding the closure. "Last year, the province announced they were shutting down Manitoba Developmental Centre. That's approximately 400 jobs that will no longer be in our community. There were smaller job losses last year at the Food Development Centre and job losses at the Addictions Foundation Compass program in Southport. So, all in all, a very concerning trend where jobs seem to be leaving rural Manitoba for Winnipeg."

Ferris, who has served two terms as mayor, will not seek re-election come October when Portagers head to the polls for the municipal election. He shares that in his newfound free time, he will be travelling and looking to get involved with the Centennial Cup and the Senior Games coming to the city next year.