The MLA for Steinbach is praising four municipalities in the southeast for thinking regionally.

On Thursday, plans were unveiled for a regional wastewater treatment facility. The facility will be built north of Niverville and will involve Niverville, Hanover, Ritchot and Tache. The project is expected to cost approximately $110 million, with $18 million coming from our provincial government, $21 million from the federal government and the remaining $71 million from the four jurisdictions. 

The facility is anticipated to be operational in three to four years. It will include the installation of a wastewater conveyance system with approximately 90 kilometres of effluent pipeline as well as new lift stations and pump stations.

Steinbach MLA Kelvin Goertzen says, though difficult, sometimes the most important thing is for communities to consider how they can work together. 

"To reach out to other communities and say okay, we're not always going to compete with each other, whether it's in sports or something else but how do we come together and find a way to do it regionally?" says Goertzen.

He notes it seems there is a better understanding these days that what is good for Hanover is good for Steinbach or what is good for Kleefeld can be good for Grunthal. 

"This regional approach I think it's very important and it shows I think a visionary approach by the councillors and by everybody who has been involved," Goertzen adds. 

The Steinbach MLA says the scope of this project is certainly one of the larger ones the province has invested in. And, he notes it is one of a few really big projects to hit the area in recent years. He says it joins a list that includes the $40 million expansion at Rest Haven personal care home in Steinbach as well as the events centre coming to Steinbach.

"There are literally hundreds of millions of dollars that are being invested into this region," notes Goertzen. "That's a recognition that the government sees it as important but it's also a recognition that this area is growing at an unprecedented rate."

Goertzen says growth brings challenges but also provides opportunities. He notes if you can push through the pressures and get to a point where a $110 million regional wastewater facility can be officially announced, it makes the hard days worth it. 

Meanwhile, Provencher Member of Parliament Ted Falk says this whole project was really the idea of Hanover Reeve Stan Toews, who is serving as chair of the Red-Seine-Rat Wastewater Cooperative (RSRWC). According to Falk, Toews brought forward this idea back in 2008 already. 

"He had this vision that the municipalities needed to work together to facilitate the demand and growth that many of the communities in Hanover, Ritchot, Tache and Niverville are experiencing," adds Falk.

He notes Toews did the hard work of coordinating these municipalities to get together and form a cooperative, which enabled them to push their application for funding to the provincial and federal governments. 

"The municipalities have worked together collaboratively and that is the really exciting thing, that we see municipal governments working together harmoniously to create something that's going to benefit all of them," he adds. "And enable all of these municipalities to continue to grow."