There was a buzz of excitement at the T.G. Smith Centre Monday afternoon as funding was announced for the Southeast Events Centre.

After years of advocating for a recreation and events facility in Steinbach, MLA Kelvin Goertzen was more than excited to break the news.

"It really feels good, I can think back to my 18 years as MLA and there have been lots of projects that have been important and that people have advocated for, probably the two greatest were the need for more PCH beds and a need for an events centre."

With new PCH beds about to open up, Goertzen says it is amazing to be able to announce funding for the Southeast Events Centre.

"I recognize that there are so many people over the years, municipal councils, MLA's, MP's, who have advocated to get us to this day so it feels great, there is no question about it. It is certainly one of the proudest days I have had as MLA for Steinbach."

The Government of Canada is putting in $9.5M through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program and the Province of Manitoba is contributing over $7.9M. This is in addition to the $10M that the City of Steinbach has already committed and the $15M coming from the private sector.

Mayor Earl Funk says this is history in the making.

"It was a long two-year wait but it is all worth it now."

Funk says to finally be able to say the Southeast Events Centre is funded, and at the full amount they asked for, is thrilling. He notes it was especially meaningful to share the moment with former Mayors Chris Goertzen, Les Magnusson, and Helmut Pankratz.

"It was their original vision. Me being the last one in the chain, I was just the one that picked up their vision, they made the foundation, they bought the first lot, and we just continued. That is why it was so special and so important that all of the former mayors were here."

It was over 25 years ago that the city council of the time began purchasing lots in downtown Steinbach for a future project. At the time, they didn’t even know what the project would be.

Grant Lazaruk is the President of the Southeast Events Centre Board of Directors. This organization is set to take over management of the new facility even though the city will retain ownership.

He says a new arena and events centre in Steinbach is long overdue and with funding now in place, the whole project can finally move forward.

"Conceptual design is at a place where we can consult the community and get some input now and move forward through detailed design and engineering and I think that phase is usually 4 to 6 months and I think we can be in a position by this time next year, or two months earlier, to start construction."