The Portage Regional Director for Economic Development Eve O'Leary presented a quarterly report to the RM of Portage la Prairie Tuesday.  

The inter-municipal regional department focuses mainly on investment attraction, business retention and expansion, tourism, and being the community economic development champion.

She outlines some progress made.

"We're really focused in 2023 on how investment-ready we are," says O'Leary. "We have completed a 3-phased approach to be investment-ready. An investment-readiness assessment was completed by a consultant, a website audit review, and then an economic development audit process on how we do economic development, in terms of requests for information and site selections. They were all positive."

She notes these reports will come back to the PRED board and then to RM council for their records. 

"We continue to work on our strategic plan and we're just moving into preparing audits for 2022," continues O'Leary. "PRED was successful in attaining $57,000 from the CanExport grant. We're hoping to match that now with $75,000 that we applied to from the province of Manitoba. That's for regional economic development, a socioeconomic impact assessment, and then to complete the website changes as presented by our consultant."

O'Leary says the PRED team identified a few projects for 2023, and their Tourism Committee saw a couple of new staff members added, Brittany from the National Indigenous Residential School Museum and Cody Buhler from the Terriers. She notes this strengthens their tourism partnerships.

"Travel Manitoba was out in December to present a Destination Management Assessment," adds O'Leary, noting that was quite positive. "It has given us a plan to move forward on the tourism portfolio. Our main focus is investment attraction. We continue to promote Poplar Bluff and MacMillan Industrial Parks, and have a comprehensive community profile that's just ready for release."