It's almost time for construction to start for the Oakville Community Club project. During a presentation to the RM of Portage la Prairie Council during their Tuesday meeting, Dennis Galbraith, chair of the committee overseeing the new community center project, revealed the plan is for shovels to hit the ground in about a month's time.

However, before that can happen, the club needs to ask for more money. Originally, the club asked for $700,000. Since that time, inflation has hit, material costs have gone up, and the club is now looking for $1.2 million. Council discussed the issue during the meeting and approved the first reading for the loan. Although nothing will be finalized until the second and third readings, it's clear the Councillors believe in the project.

"We're hugely appreciative of the council's support for the project and the bridge financing is instrumental in accessing the grants because they're all funded back to the construction after the contractors have been paid," says Galbraith. "You can't get these grants unless you can prove you have bridge financing to pay the contractors and then claim the grant back after the fact."

Assuming this bridge financing from the RM is approved at a later meeting, the project will continue, and Galbraith is excited about what it will mean for the community. He notes the value of the loonie has had an impact.

"This past year has seen more increases because of the drop of the Canadian dollar," says Galbraith. "Quite a bit of the mechanical equipment, if you think about all of the washrooms and the kitchen equipment and all of those kinds of materials, a lot of building materials come in from the U.S. So, when the contractor was looking at it last summer, compared to what they're looking at this spring, an eight or nine cent change in the Canadian dollar is pretty significant dollar hit to the overall cost of the project."

Reeve Kam Blight says they want to see other communities in the municipality see success like Oakville has seen, and that's why the RM is working on a community enhancement plan. This is a story we will hear more about in the coming days.

You can read the "New Community Centre Drawings" here.