Feds offer up cash for Southport expansion


Photographer: Rob Swystun
October 27, 2009

Portage-Lisgar MP Candice Hoeppner announces $1.5 million in federal government funding for a new 52-unit student apartment block in Southport on October 23.

Southport Aerospace Centre Inc. will soon be able to house more students thanks to a new 52-unit apartment block due to start construction in spring.

"The construction of these student accommodation facilities will help create jobs and maintain employment in Portage la Prairie, while at the same time allowing Southport to expand their fl ight training program," Portage-Lisgar MP Candice Hoeppner said.

She was in Southport on Oct. 23 at the Hilly Brown Building to announce, on behalf of Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification Lynne Yelich, the federal government is kicking in $1.5 million for the project, which comes from the Community Adjustment Fund as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan.

"Ninety per cent of stimulus funding has been committed," Hoeppner told the crowd of about 40 people.

The building is part of a plan to develop and market an international aviation-training program.

"We are reaching out and training pilots from across the world," Hoeppner said.

Southport CEO Barry Feller said the new building, set to begin construction in spring, is part of the community's ongoing growth plan.

"It's been a real pleasure for me to see the growth in Southport over the last few years," he told the crowd. "This will allow Southport to continue on with its development plans."

The 4,400-square-metre building is to be situated northeast of the Hilly Brown Building and will house 52 one-bedroom suites, each measuring about 58 square metres, that will include a living space, study area, bedroom, kitchen, washroom and personal storage. A lounge, laundry and storage area are to be located on each level. A common recreational lounge and kitchenette are to be located on the main level adjacent to the main entrance.

The cost of the building is about $10 million, and Southport will kick in the remaining $8.5 million, Feller said.

It is due to be completed by summer of 2011.

While the building will not be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certifi ed, architect from ft3 said, the building will be built to approximately a silver LEED standard.

"We call it LEED shadowing," Tokar said during an interview.

He's been working on the project for about a year already, the architect said, and also pointed out he tried to borrow some of the architectural elements of the Hilly Brown Building when designing the student accommodation building.

Also, he added, elements of the building, such as the slightly upward curving roof, are meant to symbolize the dynamics of flight.

Portage la Prairie Mayor Ken Brennan and Rural Municipality of Portage Reeve Toby Trimble were equally excited about the prospect of the new building going up.

"It's a really exciting day for Southport," Brennan noted.

"We're looking forward to it," added Trimble.

Currently, Southport has student accommodation at the Mynarski House building, which features 28 single rooms with semi-private washroom facilities, and six smaller single rooms with private washrooms.