Southport Aerospace was showcased at the Manitoba Legislative Assembly last week. Portage la Prairie MLA Jeff Bereza read a Private Member's Statement about the thriving community.

"We get the opportunity to do Private Member's Statements usually once a month or a couple times a month. We recognize different organizations or people, whether it's volunteering or doing just a little above and beyond, sometimes. I had the opportunity to have the folks in from Southport Aerospace and we talked about the upcoming air show. Southport just plays such an integral part in our community and the surrounding area."

He notes August 3 and 4 will see the Manitoba Air Show back in the sky, and it will be the first time in six years. 

"I know for myself, and I'm sure lots of people, by the last time we were there, there were tens of thousands of people; people coming from all over Manitoba, and probably from the U.S and other places. They came to see acrobatic teams like the Snowbirds and the Skyhawks Parachute Team. What I'm really excited to see, too, is the CF-18, and our own military showing off, as well."

Bereza adds that air shows always bring his mind back to the time of his youth, and he hopes to see a certain display that might be included.

"I'm not sure if it's flying, but the Lancaster Bomber was well known in World War II. That's near and dear to my heart. When I was a little guy, my dad used to take me to air shows. I can still see his face lighting up whenever we talked about it or whenever we got to see the Lancaster Bomber."

He adds that part of the upcoming Air Show includes some new features.

"Something different this year is that they're doing an event called Pistons and Props. It's an air show as well as a car show. Again, there's a little bit of something there for everyone. I know there's a Children's Educational tent that's going to be there. So, we just want to invite all Manitobans to come out on August 3rd, and 4th, and enjoy the Manitoba Air Show."

He says Southport Aerospace deserves kudos for everything they do, including how they involve citizens from not only Portage la Prairie, but all over Manitoba. 

"When that base closed, we thought we were done. And there was a group of people who got together. Southport Aerospace has the ability to be all for what we had with the military, and more, just from their corporate citizenship that they are, and just some of the things that they're bringing in again. They're working on flight schools, but they are such a great partner. Just an example of that is some assistance they can play in our local hospital."

Bereza explains he's been lobbying for a permanent MRI unit in the new build of the Portage and District General Hospital, and outlines how Southport can be a great player. 

"One of the things that we thought of as a government is that there's a lot of people from remote communities in Manitoba who are a long ways away, that just can't get here. I talked to Southport Aerospace and I said, 'Would it be possible to land MedEvac flights?'  They said, 'Absolutely!' They said they could land 20 to 30 flights per day, 365 days a year without affecting any of the Flight Training. Again, that's just another way that Southport is such a great citizen; helping out with the community with things like medical, but also helping out and in driving the economics of our community."

Bereza adds petitions with Portage names for an MRI unit in the new hospital are being collected this week, Friday, May 31.