City council is already planning for the next big project, even though construction has barely begun on the new Southeast Event Centre in Steinbach. 

“When we look at projects like this, you got to look at the big picture,” says Mayor Earl Funk. “What is the big picture for the community? Is this the last project? No. We're going to be building more things, we know that. And probably what we'll learn the most after this, after it's open and functioning, is exactly what we need to build next. City Council knows that and we're already discussing that kind of stuff.” 

Funk says the community becomes more attractive to newcomers when there are amenities that are geared toward people of all ages. 

“If we do look at the entire community and we make it comfortable for seniors and we make it comfortable for young families, then what that will do is attract more families,” he says. 

For Canadian communities to continue to grow, Funk says we need to attract people from other countries. 

“Canada is not growing through babies, through natural population,” he explains. 

While the Southeast Event Centre will make Steinbach a more attractive place for residents to enjoy a variety of activities in a comfortable building, Funk says city council will continue to look at more projects to bring the community together. 

Making Steinbach attractive for young families that are outside of our borders, that is what we're looking at doing,” he says. “And when we can do that, then we will increase our population.” 

Although the mayor would not provide any specifics about the possibilities for the next big project in Steinbach, he is confident that it will make the community an even better place to experience. 

Doors are opening wider for immigration, thanks to a provincial announcement last week which sees an increase in the number of spaces in the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP). Manitoba will receive 3,175 additional nomination spaces from 2022, which represents a 50 per cent year-over-year increase. This means for 2023, Manitoba's allocation will be 9,500 nominations. 

According to 2021 Census numbers released in the fall of 2022, 21.3 per cent of Steinbach's population are immigrants. That number is actually very similar to the previous Census in 2016 when immigrants made up 20.5 per cent of Steinbach's population. 

In the Hanover School Division, the student population continues to increase and part of that growth is due to students coming from other countries. Superintendent Shelley Amos says they have been told to expect those numbers to continue to climb.

-With files from Dave Anthony, Shannon Dueck, Adi Loewen