The Mayor for the Town of Ste. Anne says it’s time for the provincial government to move forward with the new vocational high school in the community. 

Yvan St. Vincent is referring to the new school that was announced last year while the Conservatives were still in power. After the New Democrats won the provincial election, they put a stop to the project. 

“My understanding is that they were going to use that P3 model, which is essentially like a private builder model. And when the NDP's came in, they weren't in favor of that model and since no money had been set aside with treasury then there was no money to build nine new schools, which was the promise,” says St. Vincent. “So, the NDP's have agreed to build two in Winnipeg, I think North and South Winnipeg, and have basically told the other seven that they're all on pause and it'll be revisited, but the funds weren't there to back up the promise, I guess is the story.” 

There was a lot of excitement surrounding the new vocational high school for Ste. Anne. 

 “Not only is the new building needed, just because of the space constraints we have already, and the fact that we have several huts, and that it would bring daycare spots and all those things, almost the bigger piece is the trade piece to it, right? There's many, many residents in this area where trades is the avenue that they're going to do most of their careers.” 

St. Vincent says they always hear, “We’re short on trades,” and he strongly believes this new vocational high school is a key piece in helping accommodate the demand for more trained people in various trades. 

A 72-spot daycare was going to be part of the new vocational school, something the community was also excited about. 

With the province not offering the town any hope that this school is still going ahead any time soon, St. Vincent says it’s a concern. 

“A huge concern, for sure. I mean, the town was fortunate enough to get one of the Ready-to-Moves (RTM Daycare buildings), it's taken our waiting list from 200 to 125. So, it's made a dent, but we go back to our growing population and trying to attract these young families, and anyone, to make their way out here, but then, and this is common all over the province, we don't have the daycare spots to support that.” 

St. Vincent is not standing alone in the push for this new school to be built. He is joined by Richard Pelletier, Reeve for the Rural Municipality of Ste. Anne. 

Pelletier speaks passionately about the need for adequate space to teach local children, giving them the education required to help them secure a solid future. He also sees the need for more daycare spots in the region. 

Having young grandchildren, Pelletier says he sees how difficult it is for young families to find childcare. 

He notes the growing community of Richer also needs more daycare space. Pelletier says they have offered land to be used for a new daycare building and the community continues to apply to the province’s Ready-to-Move (RTM) Childcare Project with hopes of getting support from the Manitoba Government. 

“Manitoba's 2023-26 Action Plan under the Canada-Manitoba Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement allocates targeted investments towards capital development of new regulated non-profit infant and preschool child care spaces in higher need communities.” - 

Pelletier believes the province has no idea how fast the Southeast is growing and by how much. He hopes they will realize how important it is to invest in the region.