Yesterday saw the official sod turning for new hotel on Crescent Road West, just outside Portage la Prairie.
It’s a 10.5 million dollar initiative of Long Plain First Nation, partnering with Wyndham Hotels and Resorts.
Long Plain Chief Dennis Meeches says it’s part of his focus on economic sovereignty.
“Because I really believe job growth is important for indigenous people and the indigenous economy,” he says, “And it’s building partnerships that benefit everybody. There are a lot of spinoff benefits from big projects such as this, and I think it will help the central plains region, and the Keeshkeemaquah Reserve, working with the city is one of the great examples of partnerships with urban reserves in this province.”
Portage Mayor Irvine Ferris sees this as a historic day.
“Not just for Long Plain, this project will benefit the entire region, including the city of Portage la Prairie,” he points out, “Quite often we bid to host mid-size conventions, and quite often we’re turned down, and the reason we’re turned down is we don’t have enough room capacity. This hotel will add 75 rooms to our capacity, so there are a lot of economic benefits.”
Portage MLA Ian Wishart sees it as important.
“Certainly in terms of economics, for the whole community, and the region, it’s very positive,” he says, “There’s been a shortfall, and a need for hotel space in the Portage la Prairie area for some time, so it’s positive in regard to that, but doubly so because it’s a first nation that’s doing it. First nations, and their economic opportunities, are important for us as a province. This is one of those examples that we’re going be able to point to.”
Southern Chiefs Organization Grand Chief Jerry Daniels attended as well. He feels it represents a great future for Long Plain, and its citizens.
“Also for the community of Portage la Prairie, because we’re talking about jobs here, we’re talking about growth of the economy. I think you’re going to see a lot of good things – spinoffs – that come about from this project.”
Wyndham Hotels Senior Director Peter Lee says the location is key, and stresses dealing with first nations is important to the company.
“We’ve done that before with a number of different projects, on different hotels,” he says, “So it’s important that we participate with them in the growth, and what they’re looking for. Obviously the key is the partnership – who the owners are, who the franchisees are. We’re a franchise company, and we look at location, the highway’s right there, and also the partnership with developers, because they’re the ones that are going to be helping Long Plain in putting this deal together, and building this hotel.”
MasterBUILT Hotels is the developer, and President Eric Watson describes this as a huge deal.
“The hotel’s a gathering place for the community,” he says, “They’re different than a lot of buildings. They create a lot of spinoff economic opportunity that a lot of other real estate doesn’t. So you see the interest here, within the local community. It serves a greater need, so I it’s going to be terrific for the city and the region. It’s going to be terrific for Long Plain First Nation, from an economic perspective, creating a sustainable future for them, not only from the investment side, but also from the employment side for their people as well.”
Article from Portage Online