Manitoba's Premier has officially announced that Rest Haven personal care home in Steinbach is expanding. Brian Pallister and Health Minister Cameron Friesen each made the trip to Steinbach Thursday afternoon to announce plans to move forward.

Rest Haven is a 60 bed personal care home built in 1984. It will grow by 83 beds and once complete, the facility along Woodhaven Avenue will have 143 beds.

The new facility will be constructed next to the existing building and Woodhaven Manor. The current building will be renovated to provide support space.

David Driedger is Chief Executive Officer for HavenGroup. He says initial estimates are that they will break ground this coming fall and for construction to last about two years.

Driedger explains the new facility will feature clusters of single resident rooms with washrooms and showers that form a local neighbourhood of 11 or 12 rooms. Each cluster will include dining and activity spaces as well as large multi-purpose gathering spaces and small, private lounge areas. The facility will also include storage, offices, staff areas, maintenance, laundry and housekeeping service areas and exterior patios, walkways and parking.

"Each home will have their own kind of culture, so to speak, they will have dining within that area, they will do their activities of daily living in that area," explains Driedger. "So it will feel much more like home because there is less patients per unit."

Project costs are not being released at this time. However, the province will provide capital funding, with the rest to be provided by the community. Driedger admits it is a greater amount than the Bethesda Foundation, jointly with HavenGroup had committed earlier, but it is doable.

(Manitoba Health Minister Cameron Friesen)"By building this facility here at Rest Haven, we are addressing the identified need for beds in this community," says Health Minister Cameron Friesen. "We are helping to keep our promise to Manitobans to provide twelve hundred new personal care beds."

Friesen is referring to the Premier's election promise that the number of personal care home beds will increase by 1,200 in Manitoba by 2025.

Further to that, Friesen says this expansion will reduce wait times for other patients in hospitals. As those seniors move to a more appropriate setting, Manitoba hospitals will have more capacity, which means hospital flows will only get better.

"I am so excited to be with you today and to confirm that we are ready to begin the construction," says Premier Brian Pallister. "Congratulations."