Following the announcement of the plans to reach out to the public for opinions on the kind of services that Portage's new hospital will offer, Portage la Prairie MLA Ian Wishart speaks from his perspective in the provincial government. 

"We're very pleased to have a new facility coming to Portage and we want to make sure that we get everything in the facility, and get it in the right facilities," says Wishart. "Of course, Boundary Trails is doing some work as well, as is Steinbach Hospital. So, we want to be sure we get the right balance of services across the region."

He explains it's an opportunity for the general public to do a consultation online.

"I think that would be something that many people want to express opinions on," continues Wishart. "Of course, we will be reaching out, have been reaching out, to groups in the community already to make sure that we have the right services. We do regular consultations as a government through the online process. But this is the first time a lot has been done In the hospitals. We haven't built a lot of hospitals outside the big urban centres for some time."

Wishart notes past consultations have mostly been done with hospitals in Brandon and Winnipeg. 

"This time, of course, there are a number of rural hospitals at play," adds Wishart, "and I'm sure they'll be doing this not only here, but also at Neepawa and there's another one at Teulon in the Interlake, and they're doing some work in Selkirk, as well. So, they'll want to make sure they have the right mix of services in each community." 

He says the footprint of the hospital is fairly large because it's not many floors as in the style of a tower. Wishart notes it will be more similar to what was done at Selkirk in the past, which is a two-story building.