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Southport unveils newly renovated fitness facility

By Brian Oliver, The Graphic

After nearly two years of work, renovations on Southport’s Central Plains RecPlex have finished.  

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Nov. 15, introducing the new recreation facility to the public. The 35,000 square foot, state-of-the-art complex — which houses a full sized gymnasium, day care, workout area and climbing wall — has been undergoing a two-year face lift for the cool sum of $3 million.

“Certainly there was a need to bring some life back into this building,” said Peggy May, CEO of Southport, during the ceremony. “Not only to provide additional, more modern recreational facilities for our very important military flight training program, but also the members in our community.

We’re proud to be an economic driver to the region.”

A full house turned out for the occasion, as dozens packed into the foyer of the new facility to hear introduction speeches, tour the facility, compete in physical challenges and even sample the food  provided by Sawmill Tea & Coffee Co., who will be setting up a full time food kiosk in the coming weeks.

“Southport has identified some needs for the area and have done an excellent job bringing forward this great facility,” said Rural Municipality (RM) of Portage Reeve, Kam Blight. “Southport just does not sit back. (They’re) never satisfied and always want to move forward and make things better and make this community a better place to live.”

Portage Day Care, which partnered with Southport to bring a childcare facility to the venue, created an additional 28 spaces for children aged 18 months to five-years-old. In total, the RecPlex facility created the equivalent of 12 full time jobs in order to appease its staffing needs.

“I think it’s a real addition to the Central Plains, I am particularly pleased to see the childcare facility up and running,” said Ian Wishart, MLA and Minister of Education and Training, who was also on hand for the unveiling. “We always seem to be short child care spaces, so it’s great that (Southport) stepped up and put some in place.”

“Anytime time we build infrastructure that encourages physical activity, (we) have a positive impact on the city of Portage and the entire region,” added Portage la Prairie Mayor, Irvine Ferris. “We don’t have a feature anywhere in our region like that (climbing wall). This will attract visitors from far and wide.”

The newly renovated facility features a 9-metre rock climbing wall, 110-metre indoor track, cardio and weight equipment and a full sized gymnasium. The spacious welcome centre also features the new home of Sawmill Tea & Coffee Co.

The facility offers monthly, quarterly, biyearly and yearly membership options for the entire venue, the workout facility or just the climbing wall. For membership prices or more information, visit

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