The treasurer of the Southeast Events Group says they are extremely happy to see the Southeast Event Centre project move forward.
Jarrett Bishop is referring to the fact that Steinbach City Council has approved the tender, even though the project is now expected to cost considerably more than originally budgeted. On November 1st, City Council awarded the construction tender to Graham Construction and Engineering Inc. for a guaranteed maximum price of $61 million. Back in October of 2019, the estimated cost was $42.5 million, however, prices have risen sharply in the last three years. 

Bishop says he is disappointed but not surprised that prices have escalated during that time.

"We would have liked to have seen them come in better, but the events of the last two years have certainly pointed in the direction that construction costs were going to be escalating, probably to a higher extent than we had anticipated," he points out. "But we were able to weather through it."

When the cost of the project was originally pegged at $42.5 million, the Southeast Events Group had pledged $15 million in private funding. Now, it is upping that to $25.5 million. Bishop says though this is the amount needed to get this project over the line, it is a daunting task to raise that amount.

"It definitely is," he says. "We're going to be relying very heavily on a combination of not just the key donors that have stepped up at this point, but the campaign that we're going to be launching in the new year focusing on other business and our community donation drive."

He says in early 2023 they will provide a clearer definition of how the community can get involved, adding they will need the support of everybody in order to achieve and meet this goal.

According to Bishop, the Southeast Events Group has been working very closely with the City of Steinbach, including having a say in who should build this project. With regards to Graham Construction and Engineering Inc., Bishop says though he cannot comment on previous buildings they have constructed, they are a well-respected organization with a presence right across Canada.

Meanwhile, Bishop says it was extremely important that Steinbach not let this opportunity pass by. With dreams for a new arena or performing arts centre being dashed over the years, Bishop reminds Steinbach residents that the funds needed for this project to happen will only be available for a certain amount of time. And, with government funding and key donations coming together at the same time, he says the rising cost should not have been enough to kill this dream.

"We couldn't be happier with the way things have rolled out," he says. "We're very excited for this project to get off the ground and break ground early in the new year. And it's going to be just a fantastic facility and a great opportunity for the city of Steinbach."