The Reeve of the Rural Municipality of Portage la Prairie says 2022 was an eventful year when it comes to infrastructure, agriculture, economic development, and much more.
Reeve Kam Blight says the intense weather that kicked off the year made maintaining their infrastructure challenging.
"Frequent snowfalls and wind that seemed to blow constantly from every direction, made for a very busy winter for our Public Works department, who did a great job in maintaining our road infrastructure," says Blight. "The wet winter carried forward into the spring and early summer months where we had numerous road washouts and overland flooding. This resulted in the RM applying the largest amount of gravel in our history."
He adds it took the majority of the summer months for the RM to recover from the damage caused by the wet winter and spring.
Reeve Blight says economic development has been, and still is, a priority for the municipality, adding they saw the regional reservoir construction begin this past year, and new sales of lots in their industrial park. He also gives kudos to the Boat Launch Committee for their great work in getting the Marina opened up at Delta Beach. He notes, that's not all.
"There is an ongoing dialogue with potential investors and local businesses who are looking to invest in our region," says Blight. "The recent joint announcement with the City of Portage la Prairie for an additional 70 childcare spaces is welcome news, as well as the exciting announcement by the Oakville Community Club, who secured enough funding to build a new community hall and daycare facility in the community of Oakville.
Reeve Blight says it's these great announcements that make the municipality a great attraction not only to investors, but to current and potential residents.
For 2023, Reeve Blight wants to continue to find ways to support agriculture, as he calls it the backbone of the municipality. He plans to focus on ensuring provincial and federal government policy does not have a negative effect locally. One example given is how a lack of attention and maintenance to provincial infrastructure proved to be detrimental to our region in 2022. The RM continues to call on the province to reinvest in their drainage network, specifically their third order drains. Proper maintenance would have lessened the impact of the wet winter spring, according to the Reeve.
The RM plans to reach out to both federal and provincial governments to provide more funding for water and wastewater infrastructure. The Reeve says both levels of government want increased investment in economic growth and immigration, but adds this cannot happen without proper infrastructure in place to support the proposed growth.
Last but not least, the RM will lobby the governments to address the rising crime rates in our communities. He believes a lack of investment in police resources and changes to federal law has been the cause for this uptick in crime.
The next RM of Portage meeting will be held on January 10th at 10 a.m.